Clinical Dental Assistant (Vouchers Included)

Are you ready to launch your career in an in-demand field that is fulfilling and rewarding? Becoming a dental assistant could be just the right path for you, with flexible hours and strong job growth predicted. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11% through 2030, faster than the average for all occupations, with a median annual wage of $41,180. Dental assisting education is your first step towards providing...

12 Months / 300 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Clinical Experience
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

George Mason University

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Learning method

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Course code: GES1038

What you will learn

  • Describe the roles for each member of the dental team and twelve dental specialties
  • Define the legal and ethical practice of dental assisting, including HIPAA
  • Explain deciduous and permanent dentition along with their functions in dental anatomy and pathology
  • Describe the chain of infection, transmission routes, and infection control for the dental practice, along with OSHA regulations
  • Summarize the role of the dental assistant in pharmacology, nutrition, and interaction with a variety of patients in normal daily activities and emergency situations
  • Describe the use, care, and preparation of dental instruments for patient care
  • Outline the necessary components of a patient record prior to dental charting
  • Use charting techniques to identify dental restorations and disease to create a treatment plan to prevent future disease progression
  • Set up equipment for anesthesia and sedation.
  • Describe patient clinical methods and techniques to prevent dental disease
  • Identify the process of exposing high-quality radiographs in both traditional and digital formats
  • Describe dental materials, their uses in dental treatment, and skills needed to use them efficiently
  • Define the dental assistant's role in pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, and cosmetic dentistry
  • Explain the communication and business needs to maintain a dental business office
  • State transferable hard and soft skills in order to complete a résumé for a dental assistant position

How you will benefit

  • Real-world perspectives from experienced dental assistants
  • Essential information about anatomy and physiology, preventive dentistry, patient care, and communication, radiology, pharmacology, anesthesia, assisting in specialty practices, employment strategies, and much more
  • Explore the basics of maintaining computerized clinical dental records using Dentrix Practice Management software

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 12 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 300 course hours
  1. The Dental Profession
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Ethics for the Dental Assistant
  4. Basic Dental Sciences
  5. Dental Anatomy
  6. Oral Pathology
  7. Infection Control
  8. Hazardous Materials
  9. Caring for Exceptional Patients
  10. Pharmacology for the Dental Assistant
  11. Emergency Management
  12. Oral Health and Nutrition
  13. The Dental Office
  14. Dental Instruments
  15. Introduction to Chairside Assisting
  16. New Patients and Charting
  17. Introduction to Dentrix Learning Software (Optional)
  18. Anesthesia and Sedation
  19. Preventative Care
  20. Radiation Health Safety
  21. Extraoral and Digital Radiology
  22. Dental Emergency Procedures and Amalgam Restorations
  23. Composite Procedures and Laboratory Materials
  24. Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
  25. Dental Specialties
  26. Dental Implants and Fixed Prosthetics
  27. Computerized Restorative Systems and Removable Prosthodontics
  28. Cosmetic Dentistry
  29. Dental Practice Management
  30. Your Dental Career

Priscilla Garcia

Priscilla Garcia, RDA, CPP, is a dental professional with over 20 years of industry experience. She began her career in dentistry as a chair-side dental assistant in 2002. Her work has included working chair-side and in an administrative capacity in general and specialty practices.

Priscilla has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which she leveraged to begin teaching dental assisting part-time at Collin College in 2016. She transitioned to program managing and teaching dental assisting full-time with Collin College in 2017.


There are no prerequisites to complete this course. However, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to sit for national certification exams.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
  • The optional Dentrix software requires a PC and cannot be used on a Chromebook or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 10 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.10 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word Online
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Optional Dentrix Software Requirements*

  • Operating System Windows* 7 Sp1, 8.1, 10
  • Memory 8 GB RAM
  • CPU 4 cores at 2.4 GHz
  • Local Drive Install Space 40 GB total, 5 GB on C: drive
  • Monitor 1280x1024

*Students are not required to download the software to complete the course requirements and can follow along with the video tutorials.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • Dental Assisting: A Comprehensive Approach
  • Dental Assisting Instruments and Materials Guide
  • Dental Terminology
  • Flossing and Brushing Teaching Model
  • Dental Assisting Coloring Book (potential 4-6 week shipping delay)
  • Dentrix Software (online download) *You are not required to download the software to complete the course requirements and can follow along with the video tutorials.

Please note: You will receive a digital book if the physical book is on backorder.

While both roles are important components of the dental staff, an administrative dental assistant focuses more on the office's administrative tasks, such as greeting patients, collecting patient information, filling out medical forms, organizing office records, and other clerical tasks. On the other hand, a clinical dental assistant helps dentists and dental hygienists with treatment procedures, sterilization and disinfection of dental tools, patient charting, taking vital signs, processing quality radiographs (x-rays), and more.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will have the skills needed to work in a dental office, but regulations for the practice of dental assisting vary by state. To find out about the laws in your state, consult the Dental Practice Act, available through the Board of Dentistry. Passing the Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology, Radiation Health and Safety, and Infection Control components of the National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) Certification and the Radiation Health and Safety and Infection Control components of the DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Certification may enable dental assistants to meet requirements for performing certain expanded duties in many states. Depending on state laws and regulations, a dental assistant certified by DANB can often perform a larger set of expanded duties.

All students are encouraged to pursue certification. Completion of this online course will help entry-level students gain employment to fulfill the required work experience. A minimum of 300 hours of work experience accrued over a two month to four-year period as a dental assistant is needed to qualify for the DANB NELDA certification and a minimum of 3,500 hours accrued over a two-to-four-year period before taking the General Chairside (not included) component of the DANB CDA certification. Certified Dental Assistant, National Entry Level Dental Assistant, CDA, NELDA, and DANB are trademarks of the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc (DANB). This course is not reviewed or endorsed by DANB.

National Entry Level Dental Assistants have passed the three components (Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology, Radiation Health and Safety, and Infection Control) of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam and have met the necessary work experience requirements. Students must accrue a minimum of 300 hours of work experience over a two-month to four-year period as a dental assistant to qualify for the DANB NELDA certification. While regulations vary by state, National Entry Level Dental Assistants often take on more responsibility than those who are not certified. All students are encouraged to pursue certification.

Certified Dental Assistants have passed the three components (General Chairside Assisting, Radiation Health and Safety, and Infection Control) of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam and have met the necessary work experience requirements. While regulations vary by state, Certified Dental Assistants often take on more responsibility than those who are not certified. All students are encouraged to pursue certification. Please note: The General Chairside Assisting component of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam is not included in this course, and you must obtain a minimum of 3,500 hours accrued over a two-to-four-year period of work experience to meet eligibility requirements.

You will have a wide range of important duties as a clinical dental assistant. Your job will vary based on the dental office you work for and the state your work in. Some typical duties include preparing patients for treatment, sterilizing tools, instructing patients on proper dental hygiene, passing instruments to the dentist during procedures, keeping records of treatments, scheduling appointments, processing x-rays, and working with patients on billing and payments. In a few states, dental assistants may be able to polish teeth, apply sealants and fluoride, and give topical anesthetics.

In many states, there is no specific type of training required of a dental assistant other than a high school diploma. A great way to set yourself apart and set yourself up for success in a career as a dental assistant is to complete an online training course like the Clinical Dental Assistant course from ed2go. After completing your online training course, it is a good idea to sit for your Certified Dental Assistant certification to further show your commitment to the profession.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary of a clinical dental assistant is currently just over $40,000 per year. This salary can vary widely depending on your experience level, education, and location in the United States.

Yes, clinical dental assistants are in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for dental assistants is very good. Employment is projected to grow by 11% through 2030, which is considered much faster than average. Ongoing research linking good dental health with good overall health is driving this growth as demand for preventative services continues to increase.

Most dental assistants work a full-time schedule of 40 hours per week; however, some dental assistants work part-time. Traditionally, a large percentage of the hours you will work is during the day, but you may be asked to work some evenings or weekends, depending on your dental office.

Almost all clinical dental assistants work in dental offices under the supervision of dentists, though some may find employment with the government or in physicians' offices. Dental assistants work very closely with dental hygienists. In this position, you will need to wear surgical masks, safety goggles, gloves, and protective clothing to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. You will have the opportunity to sit, but you will also need to be on your feet for large portions of the day.

To be a good clinical dental assistant, you should be detail-oriented and good at working with your hands. You will need to follow precise protocols and work with your hands in tight spaces. You should also be a good communicator as well as a good listener. You will work directly with patients daily, so a calm, friendly demeanor is necessary. It is important to have great organizational skills as well.

No, a dental assistant and a dental hygienist are not the same. A dental assistant directly supports a dentist with small, supervised jobs performed on patients' teeth and administrative tasks in the office. A dental hygienist will work one-on-one with patients with less supervision. A dental assistant can practice after earning a dental assistant training certificate, while a dental hygienist must obtain an associate degree in dental hygiene at a minimum.

Yes, a dental assistant can become a dental hygienist by earning an associate or bachelor's degree in dental hygiene and passing the appropriate state-mandated licensing exams. If you are considering a future career as a dental hygienist, becoming a dental assistant is a great way to get into the industry and gain some experience while you earn your degree. Do not wait to get started in a career you love.

No. Dental assistants are not responsible for cleaning a patient's teeth. Only a licensed dentist or dental hygienist is allowed to clean teeth or remove dental calculus.

Yes, you will be prepared for the Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP), Infection Control (ICE), and Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) portions of the Dental Assisting National Board examinations – NELDA or CDA. Once you have gained clinical experience and in-person hours, you will be prepared for the general assisting exam.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course whenever you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

After you register, you will receive 12 months to complete the course. The time allotted for completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

Our courses are designed to accommodate various learning preferences. Depending on the course structure, you may get different forms of support. Self-paced courses are designed to be user-friendly and independent, minimizing the need for external support. In courses with instructors, our direct platform support feature includes opportunities for questions, discussions, and remediation, with email and phone support available for select courses. Our student advising team is available to guide you on program requirements and administrative requests, but they do not provide assistance with course content. Our goal is to provide you with the necessary support for success, whether it's through self-paced exploration, direct communication, or guidance from our advising team.

Upon successfully passing the final exam, you will be awarded a certificate of completion from the school or organization that you registered through.

ed2go courses will help you gain the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. However, you should always research the job market in your area before enrolling.

ed2go courses are non-credit, so they do not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA, and Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards may provide funding to take our courses. Additionally, you may qualify for financial assistance if you meet certain requirements. Learn more about financial assistance.

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