Dental Assisting, Certificate of Completion

Program Note

This program is on pause for the 2022-2023 academic year and will resume taking students in the 2023-2024 academic year. 

The Certificate of Completion Dental Assisting is a three-term certificate that prepares students to meet the requirements to become a dental assistant with expanded functions (EFDA). Upon completion, students are eligible to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exams: National Entry-Level Dental Assisting (NELDA) exam, the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, and the Infection Control Exam (ICE). The curriculum is based on general dentistry. Students are trained in four-handed chairside assisting techniques to work with general dentists during all phases of examination and treatment. Students also gain experience in the administrative aspects of dentistry such as scheduling, patient communication, charting and billing. Curriculum is derived from identified learning outcomes relevant to the discipline.

Entry Requirements

Students are required to complete the College's placement process to determine skill level and readiness in math and writing. As part of their training program, students must begin with the courses within their skill level as determined by the placement process. 

Student entering this program must obtain certification through the American Heart Association in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as per the Oregon Health Authority requirements (Chapter 409, Division 30 Additionally, specific immunizations, drug screening, and background checks are required.

For more information go to myLakerLink at

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 53 credit hours with a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or better. All courses must be completed with a grade of 'C' or better. One course must be completed at Southwestern before the Certificate of Completion is awarded.

Complete the graduation application process one term prior to the term of completion (e.g., spring term graduates must apply during winter term).

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of dental instruments and terminology.
  • Demonstrate general chairside skills.
  • Demonstrate radiographic proficiency.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of legal and ethical issues in dentistry.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in infection control techniques.
  • Demonstrate occupational safety skills.
  • Demonstrate patient education and management skills.
  • Demonstrate administrative office skills.
  • Demonstrate laboratory skills.

Math and writing placement are unique to each student and are determined during the admissions and intake advising process.  Additional math or writing courses may be required prior to taking the math or writing program requirements in this degree. 

Program Guide

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
AH111 Medical Terminology I 3
DEN101 Dental Assisting I 1 4
DEN102 Infection Control 2
DEN103 Introduction to Dental Assisting Seminar 1
DEN114 Dental Admin & Legal and Ethical 4
WR115 Fundamentals of Report Writing 2 4
DEN104 Dental & Medical Emergency Mngmt 2
DEN105 Dental Materials 2
DEN107 Practicum in Dental Assisting I 4
DEN110 Dental Radiology 4
MTH60 Algebra I 3 4
DEN280 CWE: Dental Assisting 2
DEN109 Dental Assisting II 4
DEN111 Practicum in Dental Assisting II 4
DEN112 Chairside Assisting 2
DEN113 Expanded Functions Dental Assistant 2
DEN280 CWE: Dental Assisting 2
BA285 Human Relations in Organizations 3
 Total Credits53

This course has Oregon Health Authority requirements, such as immunizations, drug screen, criminal background check, American Heart Association CPR/BLS card, OSHA/HIPAA trainings, program policies, etc. Students must meet the Oregon Health Authority requirements during their enrollment in DEN101.


WR121, WR122, WR123, or WR227 may be substituted for WR115.


MTH65 or higher, excluding MTH211, may be substituted for MTH60.


All Honors courses may substitute for their equivalent requirements.