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Dental Assisting Certificate Health Sciences Total Units: 43.5
A newer version of this program is available. View the latest version here.

Catalog rights may apply, see a counselor for more information.

Term Effective: Fall 2012


The Dental Assisting Certificate of Achievement is an 11-month program, accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and the United States Department of Education. The program provides a comprehensive education in the health sciences and in clinical dental assisting as preparation to enter the field. Clinical experience is arranged at the Schools of Dentistry of the University of the Pacific and the University of California San Francisco, and in various dental offices in Sonoma County. Students do not receive wages during their clinical training period. The program is also available in an extended 22-month format.

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Registered Dental Assisting Examination to become Registered Dental Assistants (RDA) in the State of California. Graduates receive a certificate in dental radiography and a coronal polish certificate that is validated at the time of licensure as an RDA. Graduates are also eligible to sit for the Certification Exam, a national credential issued by the Dental Assisting National Board and recognized in all states. Certification is required in some states in lieu of a state license.

The increasing sophistication of dental treatment and infection control procedures is changing the role of the dental assistant. The position requires more technical knowledge and skill than before. Therefore, specialized training to the level of Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) is essential. Dental assisting requires both clinical and social skills. The RDA's primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to, patient preparation, sterilization of instruments, operatory care, instrument exchange, preparation of materials, radiography and patient education. In addition to clinical responsibilities, those who prefer the business office can have administrative functions such as appointment control, records management and bookkeeping and insurance processing. The practicing dental assistant may be exposed to environmental hazards and infectious diseases including, but not limited to, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV (AIDS). Dental assistants are obliged to provide patient care with compassion and respect for human dignity and the rights of privacy and confidentiality of patients with infectious diseases.

The RDA can find employment in private dental practice, specialty dentistry, hospitals, clinics, and dental schools. Career mobility includes opportunities in dentistry, dental office management, dental public health education, product sales, promotion, and teaching. Employment opportunities for graduates of community college Dental Assisting Programs are excellent and licensed RDA's are in great demand. Students interested in advancing in the field may wish to pursue further studies to become a dental hygienist.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Prove eligibility to sit for the Certification Exam, a national credential issued by the Dental Assisting National Board; and
  2. take the Registered Dental Assisting Examination to become Registered Dental Assistants (RDA) in the State of California.

Students interested in a suggested order for taking classes in this program, can view the recommended course sequence. Click here for more information about the program, or contact the Health Sciences Department.

Licensure Note:
The California Dental Board (CDB) may deny licensure for crimes substantially related to the practice of dental assisting. This includes convictions involving sex crimes, drug crimes (including DUI), and crimes of violence. It is the responsibility of the student to present sufficient evidence of rehabilitation prior to licensure.

Program Requirements:

The requirements for the Dental Assisting Certificate program are:

  • Complete 43.5 units from
    • American Dental Association Requirements
    • Dental Assisting Requirements

American Dental Association Requirements - complete 8.00 units
PSYCH 1A General Psychology3.00
Complete any combination totaling at least 2.00 units from the following:
ANAT 140 Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology2.00
BIO 10 Introduction to Principles of Biology4.00
Complete any combination totaling at least 3.00 units from the following:
FDNT 10 Elementary Nutrition3.00
FDNT 62 Nutrition & Diet Therapy3.00
Dental Assisting Requirements - complete 35.50 units
DA 60 Applied Dental Science3.00
DA 61 Introduction to Chairside Dental Assisting3.00
DA 62 Introduction to Dental Procedures3.00
DA 63 Dental Specialties3.00
DA 64 Advanced Dental Assisting2.00
DA 65 Dental Science3.00
DA 66.1A Clinical Practice 13.00
DA 66.1B Clinical Practice 25.50
DA 67 Dental Office Management2.00
DE 50 Introduction to the Dental Profession2.00
DE 51 Occupational Health & Safety2.00
DE 55A Introduction to Dental Radiology2.00
DE 55B Dental Radiology 22.00

Term Effective: Fall 2012

The requirements for this program of study are effective beginning the semester shown above. If you began working on this program before the effective semester, you may not be affected by the changes. Consult with the program contact person or the department chair to determine your eligibility to complete the program under previous requirements.

Term Inactive: Fall 2014

Previous Versions:

Dental Assisting - effective Spring 2007
Dental Assisting - effective Fall 1981

Course Prerequisites and Advisories:

Courses in a program of study may have prerequisites or advisories; that is, courses that must or should be completed before taking that course. Please check for prerequisites or advisories by clicking on the course numbers in the Program Requirements section.

It is important that students who are completing an Associate Degree and desire to transfer to a four-year institution meet with a counselor to plan their lower division coursework. While many majors at SRJC are intended to align with lower division major preparation required by California public universities, specific lower-division major requirements vary among individual campuses. See a counselor, visit the Transfer Center, and check Guides For Transfer in Specific Majors, and ASSIST to review transfer preparation guides for specific schools and majors.


Completion of ANAT 51 fulfills the 2.0 unit ANAT/BIO requirement above.
Students must provide documentation of a recent health examination, immunization records, and copy of a current CPR card, including adult, child and infant.
All courses must be completed with a "C" or better.

Applicants who have completed all three courses required by the American Dental Association (Psych 1A, Anat 140 or Bio 10, FDNT 10 or 62) will be given preference for acceptance over applicants who have not completed all three courses. Applicants who have completed two of the courses will be given preference over those who have completed one of the courses. Applicants who have completed one course will be given preference over those who have completed none of the courses.

Phone Email Website
(707) 527-4583