Dental Assistant Program Description

One of the smoothest routes to a career in dental care.

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Our dental assistant trainees are some of the most coveted prospective employees out there. This program was designed to help you pass the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) exam with American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the NELDA component exams (AMP, ICE, RHS). It’ll also prep you for long-term success as part of a dental care team. In addition to thorough procedural knowledge, impressive office skills, and equipment-handling expertise, you’ll end this dental assisting program with extras that’ll help you get hired, including externship experience and an advisor-reviewed resume. Ready for a real career as a dental assistant? Just bring your sweet self, and leave ready to hit the ground running the second you don your scrubs.

Program Timeline

You can be career-ready in four short months. Or, if spreading out your study makes more sense, take up to one year to finish.

Just 4 months of full-time study

Study Format

You don’t have to take a sledgehammer to your schedule in order to train for a new career. Our online dental assistant program is there whenever and wherever you’re ready.

Learn from home (or anywhere)

Study online (anytime)


We’re excited that you’ve decided to go after your dental assisting career goal, and we’re backing you every step of the way. Reach out to us any time with your questions, comments, rants, boasts, or jokes.

One-on-one support

Phone, live chat, and email

Dental Assistant Program Modules

Our 270-hour curriculum is divided into 30 bite-sized modules. Get smarter (and more hireable) with each one you check off.

Introduction to Dental Assisting (12 Hours)

  • Identify key figures in the history of dentistry.
  • Describe the characteristics that differentiate professional dental assistants from any other job.
  • Identify roles within the dental healthcare team.

Dental Ethics (8 Hours)

  • Identify the essential skills, qualities, duties, and strategies of an effective medical administrative assistant.
  • Identify employer expectations and name medical office industry certifications.
  • Identify the members of a medical team and their responsibilities.

Oral Embryology and Histology (9 Hours)

  • Define embryology and histology.
  • Identify and describe the various tissues and development stages of teeth.
  • Name and distinguish between the different types of teeth and identify their functions.

Tooth Morphology (10 Hours)

  • Distinguish between features of each tooth.
  • Identify each permanent tooth and its location.
  • Identify the reasons a patient should seek dental care.
  • State the varying cavity classifications.

Disease Transmission and Infection Transmission (11 Hours)

  • Describe the ways that infections and diseases can be transmitted in a dental office.
  • Identify the importance of hand care and proper hand hygiene for dental assistants.
  • Identify the principles and techniques of disinfection.

Principles and Techniques of Instrument Processing and Sterilization (10 Hours)

  • Identify and describe the most common methods of dental instrument processing and sterilization.
  • List the advantages of proper sterilization.
  • Identify the techniques used to minimize moisture during dental procedures.
  • Describe the types of oral evacuation systems.

Dental Caries (10 Hours)

  • Define dental caries and identify risk factors.
  • Identify possible methods of oral bacteria transmission.
  • Identify the two types of periodontal diseases.
  • Work on resume. Final edition due final week.

Principles of Pharmacology (9 Hours)

  • Identify the difference between a drug’s chemical, trade, and generic names.
  • Describe prescription drugs classifications and their effects.
  • Identify and describe the different instrument transfer techniques and various grasps used when performing an expanded function.
  • List the specific items to be set out for treatment of a patient.

Dental Hand Instruments (10 Hours)

  • Identify the commonly used instruments for examination and restorative procedures.
  • Describe the functions and importance of the dental handpiece.
  • Identify the differences between the varying types of dental handpieces.

Foundations of Radiology, Radiographic Equipment, and Radiologic Safety (11 Hours)

  • Describe how dental imaging is used.
  • Identify and describe dental x-ray processes and components.
  • Identify risks and benefits of dental images.
  • Describe the effects on the human body from radiation exposure.

Preventative Dentistry (10 Hours)

  • Define the goal of preventative dentistry and describe its components.
  • Identify the purpose, methods, and effects of administering fluoride therapy.
  • Identify legal issues that affect dental radiography.
  • Describe the components and purpose of quality assurance.
  • Define infection control protocol.

Intraoral Imaging (11 Hours)

  • Identify the components in preparing a patient for dental imaging.
  • Identify the core intraoral imaging techniques and list the basic rules for each.
  • Identify and describe the equipment used in extraoral imaging.
  • Describe the purpose of the different extraoral film projections.

Chemical Waste Management (9 Hours)

  • Describe the components of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.
  • Identify how chemicals should be stored.
  • Identify the types of toxic waste generated in a dental office and how they are to be packaged for transport.
  • Define ergonomics and identify exercises used to reduce eyestrain and neck strain.

Vital Signs (10 Hours)

  • Identify how to determine a patient’s baseline health status using the four vital signs.
  • Describe how to take a patient’s pulse and blood pressure.
  • Identify the clinical considerations that should be taken into account for patients with varying needs and conditions.

Assisting in Medical Emergencies (7 Hours)

  • Identify the criteria for a medical emergency and the roles of each staff member during an emergency.
  • Midterm review.
  • Take CPR class by the end of this week.

Head and Neck Anatomy (1 Hour)

Head and Neck Anatomy (1 Hour)

  • Identify bones and muscles in the head and neck.
  • Identify and describe the joints and blood vessels in the head and neck.

Landmarks of the Face and Oral Cavity (6 Hours)

  • Identify the landmarks of the face and oral cavity.
  • List the functions of the taste buds.

Anesthesia and Pain Control (6 Hours)

  • Describe the chemical makeup of local anesthetic agents and their proper application.
  • Identify the proper use of general anesthesia in dentistry.

Restorative and Esthetic Dental Materials (7 Hours)

  • Identify the differences between direct and indirect restorative materials.
  • Identify the properties and composition of the various restorative materials.

Dental Liners, Bases, and Bonding Systems (10 Hours)

  • Identify the use and purpose of cavity liner, varnish, dental base, and dentin in the restoration process.
  • Identify the difference between permanent and temporary cements.

Impression Materials (10 Hours)

  • Identify the types of impressions taken for dental procedures.
  • Describe the types of impression trays and materials used when taking impressions.
  • Describe dental laboratory safety precautions.
  • Identify types of equipment typically found in a dental laboratory.

General Dentistry (8 Hours)

  • Identify the components in the process of cavity preparation.
  • Identify the difference between Class II, III, and IV restorations and why a matrix system is essential.
  • Identify the most common types of matrix systems.

Coronal Polishing (10 Hours)

  • Define and describe prophylaxis and coronal polishing.
  • List the types of extrinsic stains.
  • Identify the different types of dental sealants and their purpose.

Provisional Coverage (9 Hours)

  • Identify the different kinds of provisional coverage and the appropriate home care instructions.
  • List the different types of dental implants.
  • Describe the surgical procedure for implantation.

Fixed Prosthesis (10 Hours)

  • Identify the components of a fixed bridge.
  • Identify the procedural components for preparation and placement of a crown.
  • Identify components and differences between partial dentures and full dentures.

Endodontics (10 Hours)

  • Identify the types of endodontic procedures.
  • Describe root canal therapy.
  • Define the dental assistant’s role in a periodontal practice.
  • Identify instruments used in periodontics.

Oral Maxillofacial Surgery (11 Hours)

  • Describe oral and maxillofacial surgery.
  • Identify and list the instruments used for a forceps extraction.
  • Identify effective behavioral techniques that work in the treatment of children.

Orthodontics (9 Hours)

  • Explore corrective orthodontics and identify treatment types.
  • Define proper relationship etiquette between the dental team and the patient.
  • Identify components of professional phone courtesy.

Financial Management in the Dental Office (12 Hours)

  • Discover the importance of computerized financial management systems.
  • Identify the importance of collections.
  • Define insurance fraud.
  • Describe dental insurance and all parties involved.
  • State the components in claim forms processing.
  • Define your career goals and identify potential career opportunities.
  • Describe the components of a job interview, negotiating salary, and steps that will lead to success in career objectives.
  • Submit resume: final edition.

Dental Assistant Certifications

Completion of the Dental Assistant program will prepare you for the NELDA component exams and the RDA exam. We'll even throw in a voucher for either three NELDA component exams OR the RDA exam — a $550 value! (externship required).

National Entry Level Dental Assistant (NELDA) Component Exams

Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)