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Dental Assisting Program | Careers in Health | College of Marin

College of Marin’s Registered Dental Assisting Program combines the technical knowledge and skills required to function successfully as a chairside dental assistant with the essential aspects of office procedures. The expanded functions that are required for state licensure are taught to clinical proficiency.

Students who have completed the program can expect to be fully prepared to take the California State Written and Practical Exam to receive their Registered Dental Assisting (RDA) license and take their National Certified Dental Assistant Examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).   With either option, students also earn various State of California certificates with successful completion of specific coursework, including radiology licensing; infection control; coronal polish; pit and fissure sealants; and ultrasonic scaling. 

Program enrollment by application. See details in FAQs, below.

Dental Assisting Program Options – What does COM Offer?

CLICK on the program award to view costs and required classes for each certificate and degree

Registered Dental Assisting Certificate of Achievement (38.0 units)

Time to Completion:3 semesters (minimum)
Estimated Tuition Fees:$1979.00
Estimated Books & Supplies:$1500.00
Required Courses (38.00 units)
Class CodeNameUnits
DENT 172Dental Science I3.0
DENT 174Dental Materials3.0
DENT 176Dental Morphology, Histology, and Recordings3.0
DENT 178Dental Science II3.0
DENT 180Chairside I3.0
DENT 182Dental Radiology33.0
DENT 183Advanced Dental Procedures41.5
DENT 184Chairside Procedures II5.0
DENT 186Clinical Dental Radiology1.5
DENT 187Clinical/Technique Practicum1.0
DENT 188Chairside Clinical and Operative Procedures6.0
DENT 190Dental Practice Management and Economics2.0
DENT 192Clinical Applications in Dental Offices2.0
DENT 192APit and Fissure Sealants51.0
 

Registered Dental Assisting Associates Degree (60.0 units)

Time to Completion:3 semesters (minimum)
Estimated Tuition Fees:$3096.00
Estimated Books & Supplies:$2160.00
Required Courses (38.00 units)
Class CodeNameUnits
DENT 172Dental Science I3.0
DENT 174Dental Materials3.0
DENT 176Dental Morphology, Histology, and Recordings3.0
DENT 178Dental Science II3.0
DENT 180Chairside I3.0
DENT 182Dental Radiology33.0
DENT 183Advanced Dental Procedures41.5
DENT 184Chairside Procedures II5.0
DENT 186Clinical Dental Radiology1.5
DENT 187Clinical/Technique Practicum1.0
DENT 188Chairside Clinical and Operative Procedures6.0
DENT 190Dental Practice Management and Economics2.0
DENT 192Clinical Applications in Dental Offices2.0
DENT 192APit and Fissure Sealants51.0
 
General Education (22.00 units)
See a Counselor.
* These expenses may not reflect your actual cost to attend College of Marin.
  -
Tuition cost is for in-state tuition, which is currently $46/unit plus additional fees. For out-of-state tuition, see marin.edu/paying-college.
  -For information about opportunities for financial aid, please visit marin.edu/financial-aid
  -F
or financial aid and enrollment questions, contact Enrollment Services at (415) 457-8811 Ext. 8822 or admissions@marin.edu.
Some classes may have prerequisites. Please meet with a College of Marin Counselor to plan your education path and determine which classes are necessary for you.

Career Outlook

What work can I get and how much can I earn?

JOB TITLE: Dental Assistant

  • Annual Earnings: $30,730 to $63,320
  • What They Do: Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.

JOB TITLE: Dental /Medical Secretary

  • Annual Earnings: $29,860 to $64,820
  • What They Do: Perform secretarial duties using specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. Duties may include scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.

JOB TITLE: Dental Hygienist*

  • Annual Earnings: $72,550 to $131,490
  • What They Do: Clean teeth, examine gums, expose and develop x-ray film, and record and review patient medical histories.
*Dental Hygienist position typically requires an Associate Degree or 4-year school. After COM, you can go on to hygiene school, dental school, public health for continuing education, if desired to advance to this position.
To explore these professions in more detail or find out about other growing professions, visit onetonline.org.
Salary ranges reflect 10% to 90% of annual earnings per data sourced from Economic Modeling Specialists International (www.economicmodeling.com); data includes the North Bay Region (Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma) and San Francisco County.

Key Contacts

Who do I contact if I have questions?

PLAN: Call the Counseling Office at (415) 485-9432

OTHER QUESTIONS: Call COM's Career Programs Dept at (415) 457-8811 x8200

PROGRAM QUESTIONS:
Call the Dental Assisting Dept. at (415) 457-8811 x8428

READY TO GET STARTED?

Questions? Call Us!

  • Admissions (415) 457-8811 x8822
  • Counseling Office (415) 485-9432
  • Career Education (415) 457-8811 x8200

Why Choose College of Marin for Registered Dental Assisting?

  • Dental Board approved classes taught by Dental Board Certified Instructors.
  • Accredited program from a WIOA-approved college.
  • Additional key industry certifications are part of the program, preparing you to work on a full range of dental techniques. The program includes certification for Radiation Safety, Infection Control, Coronal Polish, and Pit & Fissure Sealants. See our Industry Certifications page for more information.
  • COM’s program uses state-of-the-art equipment, including digital radiography and computer-based management.
  • Amazing faculty with strong real-world experience. Our faculty have over 100 years of real-world experience combined. The head of the department has had a practice for over 30 years, with six employees.
  • COM’s program provides an easy migration into dentistry – curriculum shaped and structured to support work. It is great career for adults re-entering the workforce too!
  • Affordable: College of Marin classes are open to all and cost only $46 per unit for California residents.
    • Starting here is a terrific and inexpensive way to start your career in dental assisting.
    • Financial aid and student support services are available to those who qualify.
  • Connected to Industry Leaders: College of Marin career education instructors are highly experienced and well-connected industry professionals recognized as healthcare experts. We have an excellent working relationship with Kaiser Permanente and other state-wide healthcare providers, and work with them to ensure a quality learning experience during students’ clinical externships.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What else should I know?

Can I just enroll or do I need to apply?
You must apply for entry into the Registered Dental Assisting program. Program requirements include:

  • Current CPR certification (American Heart Association BLS for Healthcare Providers ONLY)
  • High School Graduation, GED or its equivalent
  • Must be at least 18 yrs or older
  • Completion of ENGL 98 or ENGL 98SL or equivalent OR higher
  • Completion of Health Clearance Form
Are there any class prerequisites?
No, there are no class requirements or prerequisites. However:

  • Good working English is essential.
  • You must meet other requirements and apply to be accepted into this program as described in the FAQ ‘Can I just enroll or do I need to apply?’
How long does it take to earn the certificate or degree?
It depends on your schedule and is flexible. You can complete your Certificate of Achievement in Dental Assisting in 10 months (attending full-time) to 18 months (attending part-time).

An Associate Degree (A.S.) in Dental Assisting also requires general education and takes 2 years attending full-time.

 

Do I need to get certified? Will I get certified with this education?
After graduation, you can sit for the Certified Dental Assistant exam to get certified.

College of Marin’s Dental Assisting program teaches you the dental assisting skills you need to pass the State of California boards.

Where can I get a job as a Dental Assistant?
Once you complete your education and get your certificate, there are Dental Assisting jobs just about everywhere. Dental Assistants are in high demand and it is generally easy to go directly into the workforce in the Bay Area — or go on to hygiene school, dental school, public health from here for continuing education, if desired.

Finding a job in Dental Assisting is often very flexible as well:

  • Great work for those needing/desiring a flexible schedule – you can do job shares, etc.
  • Dentistry work is highly portable – credentials are recognized throughout the US and typically internationally too!
What opportunities will I have for advanced positions?
Your College of Marin Associate degree (A.S.) in Registered Dental Assisting will transfer toward a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science at California State Universities. If you want to plan now to pursue advanced opportunities in the future (e.g. Registered Dental Hygienist or Dentist), make an appointment with a COM counselor (call (415) 485-9432) to plan your career path.

This program is eligible for financial assistance under the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA). For information about opportunities for financial aid, please contact Enrollment Services at (415) 457-8811 Ext. 8822 or admissions@marin.edu.

Gainful Employment
For more information about College of Marin graduation and completion rates, the median debt of students who have completed our programs, and other important gainful employment information, please visit www1.marin.edu/gainful-employment.