Visit COM Main Site
Dental Assisting Program | Careers in Health | College of Marin

Career Options

  • Dental Assistant (vast majority)
  • Dentist front desk positions
  • Clinic and public health opportunities
  • May lead to a Dental Hygienist after a 2-4 year school (after COM, you can go on to hygiene school, dental school, public health from here for continuing education, if desired).

Career Profile

Dental Assistants provide preventive and therapeutic oral health care to patients in a dentist supervised work setting. Above all, a career in dental assisting is a people-oriented job, so interpersonal and teamwork skills are key and the work is very hands-on.

Dental Assistants typically:

  • Work with patients to make them comfortable and prepare them for treatments and procedures.
  • Sterilize dental instruments.
  • Prepare the work area for patient treatment.
  • Help dentists during procedures.
  • Keep patients’ mouths dry by using suction hoses or other equipment.
  • Instruct patients in proper dental hygiene.
  • Process x-rays and do lab tasks under the direction of a dentist.
  • Maintain dental records.
  • Schedule patient appointments.
  • Work with patients on billing and payment.

Plan your Education

View the classes you need to take to complete your certificate or degree in Dental Assisting at College of Marin.

Available Certificates and Degrees

Certificate of Achievement, Dental Assisting – 38 units

  • Time to Complete: Can be done in 10 months (full-time) to 18 months (part-time)
  • Estimated Cost: $2,117 in tuition and fees plus $1,500 in books and supplies.

Skills Certificates:

  • Radiology Safety – 6 units
  • Coronal Polish – 1.5 units
  • Ultrasonic Scaling – 1.5 units
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants – 1 unit
  • Infection Control – 1 units

Associate Degree in Dental Assisting – 60+ units

  • Time to Complete: Two years (4 semesters) for full-time students.

Why College of Marin?

  • 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.


Questions? Contact Counseling:

  • (415) 485-9432
  • (415) 485-9430

Dental Assisting Dept.

Program Coordinator
Tom Collins, DDS (415) 457-8811 x8428

Dental Assisting Advisory Committee

Daniel Freeman, DDS | Marty Rayman, DDS | Alan Cascio, DDS | Judy Husen, DDS | Marcello Indelicato, DDS | Nadar Vafaie, DDS | Christy Burton, RDA | Jorge Garcia, RDA | Ana Tovar de Seligman, RDA | Blanca Pareto RDAEF, RDH | Velinicia Gordon, RDA | Barbara Cancilla, RDAEF | Kim William, RDA

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to earn the certificate?

It depends on your schedule and is flexible. You can complete your certificate in Dental Assisting in 10 months (attending full-time) to 18 months (attending part-time)

Are there any pre-requisites?

No, there are no requirements or prerequisites. However, good working English is essential.

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. This is a great position that is easy to go directly into the workforce — or go on to hygiene school, dental school, public health from here for continuing education, if desired.

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. Finding a job in Dental Assisting is often very flexible:

  • 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!
How do I get started?

To get started, you need to enroll at College of Marin and should meet with a career counselor (who can help you with planning your education, direct you to financial alternatives, and more!)