Academic Catalog

Dental Assisting

Program Description

The Dental Assisting Program is an intensive 10-month sequence of instruction. Graduates will qualify for the California State Registered Dental Assisting (RDA) Licensure Examination. Graduates are also eligible for the Certified Dental Assisting (CDA) Certification Exam administered by the Dental Assisting National Board Exam. The program offers a combination of lecture, laboratory, and clinical courses in general and specialty dental practices, as well as participation in externships at a local dental school, dental offices, and/or clinics. Students will also acquire valuable certification in infection control, dental practice act, coronal polishing, dental x-ray, and pit and fissure sealants as part of the program curriculum. Graduates are in demand and have many different types of job opportunities available to them.

Learn more about the program on the Dental Assisting website.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Graduates will demonstrate entry-level competency skills mandated by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and the Dental Board of California.
  • Graduates will value and implement proper radiation safety for patients, self, and others.

Career Opportunities

Graduates can have direct patient interaction by working as a chairside dental assistant in a general practice dental office or in any of the other specialty practices including periodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery, pedodontics (children's dentistry), endodontics and prosthodontics. In addition, dental assistants can work in the front office as a receptionist and/or office manager. Other job opportunities include public health educator or administrator, sales representative, continuing education coordinator and/or consultant.

Award Type(s)

  • AS = Associate in Science Degree
  • CA = Certificate of Achievement

Units Required

  • Major: 57
  • Certificate(s): 57

Program Application

Admittance to this program is through an application process. Program information, admission criteria details, and applications can be found at the Dental Assisting Program website.

Program Prerequisites

  • High school diploma, GED or equivalent.

Associate Degree Requirements

English Proficiency
Select one of the following:
ENGL 1ACOMPOSITION & READING5
ENGL 1AHHONORS COMPOSITION & READING5
ENGL 1S
ENGL 1T
INTEGRATED COMPOSITION & READING
and INTEGRATED COMPOSITION & READING
8
or equivalent
Mathematics Proficiency
Select one of the following:
MATH 105INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA5
MATH 180QUANTITATIVE REASONING5
or any MATH course approved for Foothill GE Area V, Communication & Analytical Thinking

A minimum of 90 units is required1 to include:

  • Completion of one of the following general education patterns: Foothill General Education, CSU General Education Breadth Requirements or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC)
  • Core courses (57 units)

Note: All courses pertaining to the major must be taken for a letter grade. In addition, a grade of "C" or better is required for all core courses used for the degree or certificate.

Core and Support Courses

Core Courses

Plan of Study Grid
Fall QuarterUnits
D A 50 ORIENTATION TO DENTAL ASSISTING 1
D A 51A INTRODUCTION TO CHAIRSIDE DENTAL ASSISTING 10.5
D A 53A INTRODUCTION TO RADIOGRAPHY I 3
D A 58 SPECIALTY PRACTICE PROCEDURES 1
D A 62A DENTAL SCIENCES I 2
D A 71 INFECTION CONTROL & HAZARDOUS WASTE MANAGEMENT 1.5
 Units19
Winter Quarter
D A 51B INTERMEDIATE CLINICAL DENTAL ASSISTING 3
D A 53B DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY II 2
D A 56 DENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION 1
D A 57 OFFICE EMERGENCY PROCEDURES 2
D A 60A DENTAL OFFICE BUSINESS PRACTICES I 2
D A 62B DENTAL SCIENCES II 2
D A 73 DENTAL ASSISTING SUPERVISED CLINIC 5.5
D A 100 LAW & ETHICS FOR THE DENTAL ASSISTANT 1
 Units18.5
Spring Quarter
D A 51C ADVANCED DENTAL ASSISTING SKILLS 3.5
D A 53C DENTAL RADIOGRAPHY III 1
D A 60B DENTAL OFFICE BUSINESS PRACTICES II 3
D A 62C DENTAL SCIENCES III 2
D A 63 SPECIAL PATIENT POPULATIONS 1
D A 74 DENTAL ASSISTING CLINICAL PRACTICE 5.5
D A 85 RDA REVIEW 2
D A 88 PIT & FISSURE SEALANTS 1.5
 Units19.5
 Total Units57

Certificate Requirements

Certificate of Achievement in Dental Assisting

  • Units: 57

The certificate of achievement is awarded upon completion of the core courses (general education courses are not required) and the following:

  • Proof of Current Basic Life Support Provider Certification from the American Heart Association

Note: All courses pertaining to the major must be taken for a letter grade. In addition, a grade of "C" or better is required for all core courses for the certificate.