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. Click here to view more information about the Nursing & Allied Health program.

Entry Requirements

Students are required to complete the College's placement process to determine skill level and readiness in math, reading 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 contact the administrative assistant in Sumner Hall, Rm 4, 541-888-7443, or the director at 541-888-7298. Click here to view more information about the Nursing & Allied Health programs.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

Southwestern is required by federal regulations to disclose information related to the College's educational programs that lead to gainful employment in a recognized occupation. This information is intended to provide students the opportunity to measure employment outcomes associated with certificate programs.

Gainful employment information for the Certificate of Completion Dental Assisting can be found online.

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 52 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. All courses must be completed at Southwestern before the Certificate of Completion Dental Assisting 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).

Pre-Program Courses

Students are required to take the following courses prior to the program courses, depending on students' college placement information. See advisor for details:

MTH60Algebra I (or placement in higher math course)4
WR90RAcademic Literacy (or placement in higher writing course)4
HE252First Aid & CPR Professional Rescue (or have equivalent certification)3

Program Guide

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
AH111 Medical Terminology I 3
DEN101 Dental Assisting I 1,3 4
DEN102 Infection Control 2
DEN103 Introduction to Dental Assisting Seminar 1
DEN114 Dental Admin & Legal and Ethical 4
WR115 Introduction to Expository Writing 2 3
DEN104 Dental & Medical Emergency Mngmt 2
DEN105 Dental Materials 2
DEN107 Practicum in Dental Assisting I 1 4
DEN110 Dental Radiology 4
MTH60 Algebra I (or higher) 4
DEN280 CWE: Dental Assisting 2
DEN109 Dental Assisting II 1 4
DEN111 Practicum in Dental Assisting II 4
DEN112 Chairside Assisting 2
DEN113 Expanded Functions Dental Assistant 2
DEN280 CWE: Dental Assisting 1 2
BA285 Human Relations in Organizations 3
 Total Credits52

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.