Aug 08, 2022  
2015-2016 Course Catalog 
2015-2016 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Assistant Diploma

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The Dental Assistant program prepares the student, as a member of the dental health team, to assist the dentist in all phases of dentistry. The program includes general and specialty dentistry, chairside procedures, radiology, laboratory and business office assisting.

An integral part of the educational program is clinical experience; this is provided by rotation through various dental facilities.

The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation [and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”]. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Commission’s web address is:

Note: Criminal background checks will be completed on each student. Criminal convictions or documented history of abuse may delay or prevent students from participating in clinical education experiences. Students unable to participate in clinical education will be unable to complete the Dental Assistant program.

For more information about the Dental Assistant program, please visit our website at

Location: Ankeny

Students start Fall semester.

Program Entry Requirements

  1. Complete an application for admission.
  2. Satisfy the assessment requirement by taking the Reading and English sections of the COMPASS test and:
  3. Obtain a minimum COMPASS Reading score of 81 or a minimum ACT Reading score of 19.
  4. Obtain a minimum COMPASS English score of 70 or a minimum ACT Writing score of 19.
  5. Attend any required information/registration session.
  6. Keyboard skills of 35 NWPM with no more than five errors is strongly recommended.
  7. Submit proof of high school graduation or GED prior to enrollment.
  8. High school biology or equivalent with a grade of “C” or better is required.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Dental Assistant diploma, a student must complete all coursework as prescribed and maintain a 2.0 grade point average.

Required Course(s)

Semester 3

Option 2 - Select 1 Course


Graduates may immediately sit for the National Board exam to become a Certified Dental Assistant.

Total Credits Required to Complete this Diploma - 47

Fixed Costs

Tuition……………………………………………………………………………………..$143.00 per credit

The costs for each program are estimates and subject to change.

Varied Costs

  Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 3
Books (approximate) 1200 200 100
Uniforms/safety glasses/disposables   300   100
DANB and Iowa Dental board exam fees   370  
Transportation to clinical   150 225
Hepatitis vaccine   200    
Student Association Dues     30    
CPR Certification     90    
Physical/Dental exam   355    
Lab Fees, Dental Materials, Radiography, Principles   225 150( Radiography, Clinical Dental Assisting Lab Fees)  

Approximate total for the program: $10,476*

* Program entry requirements are not included in the total approximate cost.

The Dental Assistant program utilizes a background check service,, to conduct criminal
background/abuse checks and to track immunizations, health records and CPR certification for each student after their
acceptance into the program. Students are responsible for the cost of this service (approximately $58).

What Kind of Work Will You Do?

• Assist dentist at chairside in delivering care to a patient. This may include seating the patients, adjusting the chair, placing a bib on the patient, operating the x-ray machine, developing and mounting x-rays, mixing filling materials and dental cements, and handing them to the dentist when they are needed.
• May serve as a receptionist, office manager, bookkeeper, secretary, laboratory assistant or preventive assistant.
• Might work for a specialist in the dental field such as an orthodontist who straightens teeth, an oral surgeon who removes teeth and performs other surgical procedures on the mouth, or a pedodontist who works on child patients only.
• Perform intraoral functions as delegated by the dentist within the limits of the State Practice Act.
• Sterilize instruments and pour plaster and stone models in the laboratory.
• Infection control and hazardous waste management.

What Skills and Abilities Will You Need?

• Knowledge of high school biology and ability to type 35 WPM is necessary to be successful.
• Excellent attendance and promptness are necessary.
• Perform activities in an organized and detailed manner.
• Apply knowledge from the biological, physical and social sciences.
• Take initiative in resolving patient care problems.
• Communicate easily with patients and coworkers.
• Good finger dexterity and eye/hand coordination.

What Else Should I Consider about this Program or Career Choice?

• You will have to put your fingers in the patient’s mouth.
• Necessary physical and emotional stamina to meet demands of rigorous program.
• Must provide own transportation to clinical sites.
• Dealing with the diversity of patients’ personalities and dental problems is challenging and rewarding.
• You may have to work some Saturdays and evenings.
• Criminal background checks will be completed on each student. Criminal convictions or documented history of abuse may delay or prevent students from participating in clinical education experiences. Students unable to participate in clinical education will be unable to complete the Dental Assistant program.
• Average starting salary $31,209 (2010-2011 Placement Report).

Nondiscrimination Policy

Des Moines Area Community College shall not engage in or allow discrimination covered by law. This includes harassment based on race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex (including pregnancy and marital status), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability and genetic information. Veteran status in educational programs, activities, employment practices, or admission procedures is also included to the extent covered by law. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint through the College Discrimination Complaint Procedure. Complaint forms may be obtained from the Campus Provost’s office, the Academic Deans’ office, the Judicial Officer, or the EEO/AA Officer, Human Resources. For information about the ADA, the Section 504/ADA Coordinator can be contacted at 515-964-6857. For Title IX questions and concerns contact 515-964-6850.

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