There are 3 types of dental assisting programs, and they take different lengths of time to complete. There’s the shorter dental assisting certificate and diploma courses, and the associate degree in dental assisting programs.
How Long Are Certificate Programs?
A trade school or community college certified dental assisting (CDA) training program normally takes 1 year to complete, but some programs may take as few as 8 months. Taking a dental assisting certificate training program on a night or weekend schedule will add some months to your total time in school.
Certificate Program Length Examples
- Carrington College Certificate Program, < 1 year
- Dawn Career Institute Certification Training, 9 months
- Delta Technical College Certification Training, 9 months
How Long Are Diploma Programs?
A dental assisting diploma program at a trade school or community college is about 1 year long. Diploma courses and the above mentioned certificate programs will include core classes in safety, infection control, and ethics.
Diploma Program Length Examples
- Platt College Diploma Program, 40 to 48 weeks
- Remington College Diploma Program, < 1 year
- Vista College Diploma Program, < 1 year
How Long Are Associate Degree Programs?
All associate degrees generally take about 2 years to earn, and dental assisting is no different. Both the 1 year certificate course and the 2 year associate degree program will prepare you to sit for the DANB's Certified Dental Assistant exam. But a degree program may also help prepare you for more advanced certifications or train you on cutting-edge technology.
Associate Degree Program Length Examples
- Carrington College Associate Degree, 2 years
- Miller-Motte College Associate of Applied Science, 2 years
Time Well Spent
During your time in a dental assisting program you’ll learn oral anatomy, radiography, and clinical dental assisting. You may also learn administrative skills, how to take x-rays, and how to record medical histories. Those are many sought-after skills in our current job market.
The median annual salary for dental assistants is $38,660. Entry-level dental assistants earn about $27,000 annually and experienced dental assistants earn $54,800 on average. Those numbers are from the official BLS website.
Find a local dental assisting program.