The Certificate of Completion Dental Assisting is a four-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.

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 55 credit hours with a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or better. All courses in the program must be completed with a ‘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:

MTH20Basic Mathematics4
WR90Paragraph Fundamentals3

Program Guide

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
AH111 Medical Terminology I 3
DEN101 Dental Assisting I 4
DEN102 Infection Control 2
DEN103 Introduction to Dental Assisting 1
HE252 First Aid & CPR Professional Rescue 3
DEN104 Dental & Medical Emergency Mngmt 2
DEN105 Dental Materials 2
DEN106 Dental Administration 2
DEN107 Practicum in Dental Assisting I 4
DEN108 Legal & Ethical Issues in Dentistry 2
MTH60 Algebra I (or higher) 4
DEN109 Dental Assisting II 4
DEN110 Dental Radiology 4
DEN111 Practicum in Dental Assisting II 4
DEN112 Chairside Assisting 2
DEN113 Expanded Functions Dental Assistant 2
DEN280 CWE: Dental Assisting 4
BA285 Human Relations in Organizations 3
WR115 Introduction to Expository Writing 1 3
 Total Credits55

WR121 English Composition, WR122 English Composition, WR123 English Composition or WR227 Report Writing may be substituted for WR115 Introduction to Expository Writing.

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.