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Requirements For Applying To Dental Assistant School

Prospective students need to meet certain minimum requirements in order to be accepted into the college dental assisting program they're applying to. Not all school requirements are the same. The state the school is located in and the type of program—either certificate or degree—will help determine the actual requirements.

Dental Assistant Program Requirements

The following covers some general requirements for certified dental assistant (CDA) and associate degree dental assistant programs. The more comprehensive your program, the more requirements you may need to meet.

  • Submit applications on time
  • High school diploma, GED, or equivalent 
  • Physical exam
  • Required immunizations
  • Controlled substance screens
  • CPR certification

More Possible Requirements

You may also need:

  • Resume
  • Letters of recommendation from employers, teachers, and coworkers
  • Minimum 2.0-2.5 overall GPA
  • Background check (if clinical component)

You might also have to take developmental studies courses based on your school's assessment test results.

Physical Requirements

Dental assistants must be able to perform certain tasks with or without reasonable accommodation. (Read: what does a CDA do?) Because of this, many dental assisting programs have minimum physical standards. These can include:

  • Lift 40-50 pounds
  • Sustain activity for 4-8 hours
  • Remain standing or sitting for 4-8 hours
  • Reach below waist level Reach above shoulder level
  • Be able to bend, squat


All dental assistant schools have their own requirements; this article was just an outline of some of those, and your local school’s requirements will probably be a little different. Your best option is to look into more than one local college and reach out to them. Or, if you use the search application on this website, the school you choose will reach out to you!

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