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Medical & Dental Programs

Dental Assisting

SJVC’s Dental Assisting program trains students in all aspects of working with a dentist, including patient care, office, and laboratory duties.

REAL-WORLD SKILLS
Hands-on training prepares you for a career in the real world.
FINISH FAST
Earn a certificate of completion in as few as 11 months.
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Conveniently offered at five campuses in CA.
Affordable tuition
Affordable tuition varies by location, learn more now.
“”
I never thought teeth were interesting; but it turns out they’re very interesting. I personally love the dental field. There is great opportunity for growth in my field; but, honestly, any field you go through at SJVC is like that. It isn’t just my program.
Rebecca V.T.
2021 Dental Assisting Graduate

Ready to Do This?

Find your path in the dental field.

Talk to an admissions advisor about your options and earn your certificate in as few as 11 months

What Will I Learn?

Orientation to Dentistry
Study of the oral environment within dentistry.
Dental Anatomy and Patient Management
Study of the anatomy of the head and neck.
Preventative Clinical Procedures
Preventive dentistry specializing in coronal polish and pit and fissure sealants.
Core Dental Assisting Skills
Dental anatomy and radiology, dental software, and dental practice management.

Career Opportunities

If you want to become a dental assistant in California, our Dental Assisting program prepares graduates for an entry-level role in dental offices. As a dental assistant, you can expect to perform the following job duties:1

  • Provide chair side assistance to the dentist
  • Take dental impressions
  • Coronal polish and fluoride treatments
  • Expose and process X-Rays
  • Practice infection control procedures
  • Apply pit and fissure sealants

 

The job market for dental assistants is strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.2

Program Details

Cost & Financial Aid

There is a financial plan available for everyone, including a broad range of financial assistance options. Visit SJVC’s Net Price Calculator to get personalized information on college costs and financial aid. Check out SJVC’s Academic Catalog to learn about program costs by campus and credential level. You also can talk to an Admissions Representative to discuss the costs of your chosen program, and schedule an appointment with an experienced financial aid officer. Student loans, grants, and scholarships are available to those who qualify.

Program Availability

SJVC’s dental assisting programs are available at the following campuses:

Accreditation & Approvals

Institutional Accreditation

San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510)748-9001.

https://www.wscuc.org/

The WSCUC is an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

 

State Approvals

CALIFORNIA

SJVC is a private institution and is approved to operate as an accredited institution by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Approval to operate means that SJVC has been found in compliance with the standards set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Title 5, Division 7.5, – Private Postsecondary Education of the California Code of Regulations. As a prospective student, you are encouraged to review this catalog prior to signing an enrollment agreement. You are also encouraged to review the School Performance Fact Sheet, which must be provided to you prior to signing an enrollment agreement.

A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling (888) 370-7589 or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the Bureau’s internet website (www.bppe.ca.gov).

View additional State Approvals for SJVC.

Continuing Education for Graduates

Health Studies

Program Description

SJVC’s Health Studies program may be completed in 25 weeks. The program is designed for healthcare professionals who want to advance their career and who have earned a certificate of completion in Dental Assisting from SJVC. The Health Studies Associate of Science Degree affords excellent opportunities for professional growth and development through instruction in general education coursework designed to produce the competencies of higher education that employers expect of college graduates.

Check out our guide on becoming a Dental Assistant in California.

Are you interested in dentistry and passionate about helping people? Then a dental assistant career could be for you. Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care and administrative duties. They take x-rays, schedule patient appointments and assist dentists during dental procedures.

Succesful Grads

Ask one of our 60,000+ graduates about their SJVC experience and they’ll likely describe it as life-changing.

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Dental Assistant FAQ

WHAT DOES A DENTAL ASSISTANT DO?
Dental assistants play an important role in a dental office, often working in patient care as well as administrative capacities. This can include scheduling appointments, recordkeeping, sterilizing dental instruments, passing instruments to a dentist or dental hygienist, and operating equipment such as suction hoses during dental procedures.1
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A DENTAL ASSISTANT?
Dental assisting is a career one can enter without a degree. In some states, schooling is required.4 SJVC’s Dental Assisting program can be completed in as few as 11 months.
HOW LONG IS THE DENTAL ASSISTING PROGRAM?
SJVC’s Dental Assisting program can be completed with a certificate of completion in as few as 11 months.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A DENTAL ASSISTANT?
Becoming a dental assistant takes minimal training. To become a dental assistant you should:
  • Complete high school or obtain an equivalent degree.
  • Depending on the state you live in, attend an accredited dental assistant program and pass an exam.
  • Seek employment as a dental assistant.
Some states require assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. In other states, there are no formal educational requirements, and dental assistants learn through on-the-job training.
HOW TO BECOME A REGISTERED DENTAL ASSISTANT?
Graduates earn a Certificate of Completion and certifications in Dental Radiation Safety, CPR, Infection Control and Dental Law and Ethics. With the completion of coronal polish and pit and fissure sealants, students are eligible to take the Dental Board of California Examination for State Licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant. SJVC prepares students to take appropriate certification and licensure exams related to their individual majors. The College does not guarantee students will successfully pass these exams or be certified or licensed as a result of completing the program.
WHAT IS A DENTAL ASSISTANT?
A dental assistant is a member of a dental healthcare team, working with dentists and dental hygienists. Dental assistants provide patient care and chair-side support as dentists complete exams and procedures. Most visibly, people may see dental assistant’s passing instruments, though that is only a small portion of their duties.
HOW MUCH IS DENTAL ASSISTANT SCHOOL?
Dental assistant training costs vary widely by institution, location, and personal information. Additionally, you may qualify for scholarships or other forms of financial aid. To estimate your cost of attendance at SJVC’s Dental Assistant Program, please see our Net Price calculator. Student loans, grants, and scholarships are available to those who qualify.
HOW TO BECOME A REGISTERED DENTAL ASSISTANT IN CALIFORNIA?
To become a registered dental assistant (RDA) licensed by the Dental Board of California, the following steps must be taken:5
  1. Obtain formal education or training through one of the following:
  2. Graduate from a Board-approved RDA program.
  3. Complete a minimum of 15 months of dental assistant work experience
  4. under a licensed dentist in the U.S.
  5. Complete a 4-month program approved by the California Department of Education and 11 months of work experience under a licensed dentist in the U.S.
  6. Complete Board-approved courses in coronal polishing and radiation safety.
  7. Within five years of application, complete a Board-approved course in the Dental Practice Act.
  8. Within five years of application, complete a Board-approved, eight-hour course in infection control.
  9. Complete a basic life support course from an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
  10. Provide fingerprint clearance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
  11. Take and pass the RDA General and Law and Ethics Written exam.
While it is possible to become a dental assistant with only on-the-job training, a certificate program can be beneficial for those who wish to become registered in California. This is, in part, because programs like SJVC’s Dental Assisting program include Board-required courses related to coronal polishing, radiation safety, infection control, and basic life support. If you choose to become an unlicensed dental assistant, you still must complete the following:
  • Board-approved course in the California Dental Practice Act
  • Board-approved course in infection control
  • Basic life support course from an instructor approved by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.