Dental Assisting (DENTL)

Dental Assisting (DENTL)

about Dental Assisting (DENTL)

College of Alameda’s Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education. Our program consists of two consecutive semesters (Fall and Spring) of full time study, and will prepare you to obtain your RDA (Registered Dental Assistant) and CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) licensing.

Degree and Certificate Maps

Click below to view the course pathway to an AA/AS Degree and Certificate

2022-2023 Catalog

Course Descriptions and Program Requirements

Program Application

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What you will learn:

Dental assisting courses address the issues of patient dental care and oral health. The program includes California dental law, ethics, professionalism, infection control, head and neck anatomy, dental radiology, dental materials and chair-side skills. Fall semester courses introduce basic theory and chair-side skills, leading to more advanced studies during the spring semester, which include internship and advanced use of technology within dentistry.

From our courses you will learn to:

    • Develop critical thinking skills required to work in a dental setting.
    • Work successfully as a member of the dental team, working closely with the dentist and dental hygienist in a variety of dental settings.
    • Provide comprehensive dental assisting care to individuals from diverse socioeconomic, educational, and or cultural backgrounds.
    • Assume, if necessary, primary responsibility for the running of the back office, front office, insurance and/or financial aspects of the dental practice.
    • Assume responsibility for prevention of disease transmission in the work environment, and understand the importance of radiation safety.
    • Perform the dental assisting functions that are legally allowed in a safe and ethical manner.
    • Demonstrate professionalism, honesty and integrity, and a sense of responsibility for your ability to care for others and the community that you will serve.

Program Requirements

This full-time curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of the American Dental Association Council on Dental Education for Dental Assistants. The program includes lecture and laboratory practice in the classroom. Clinical experience is required in the dental clinics of the University of California in San Francisco, as well as in private dental offices.

Students completing all required courses with a minimum grade point average of 75% (“C”) will earn a Certificate of Achievement and be qualified to take the Certification Examination of the DANB, the State of California RDA examinations, and will be prepared to assume the responsibilities of assisting the dentist in all phases of dentistry. The program requires 32 semester units in Dental Assisting, plus 9 semester units in other general education required courses totaling 41 units.

Admissions Into Dental Program

Admission is by special application directly to the Dental Assisting Department. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent. All eligibility requirements including official transcripts must be completed at the time of application submission. Deadline for applications is April 1 of each year for admissions into the fall semester. Applicants will be notified by mail of acceptance into the Dental Assisting program. Applications received after April 1, will be accepted only on a space available basis.

Application requirements include:

    • Possession of a high school diploma or the equivalent prior submitting application to and admission into the program.
    • Official transcripts must be on file in the department
    • Current CPR and first aid certification
    • Physical and dental examination, negative TB and hepatitis test results are required to be submitted to the Dental Assisting Department prior to enrollment in the fall semester.

Recommended Course Sequence

Fall Semester

  • DENTL 220A 2 units – Infection Control and Oral Health
  • DENTL 220B 1 unit – Infection Control and Coronal Polish
  • DENTL 221 .5 units – Professional Standards
  • DENTL 222 3.5 units – Oral Anatomy, Morphology and Body Systems
  • DENTL 223 3 units – Chairside Procedures
  • DENTL 224A 3 units – Dental Radiology I
  • DENTL 225 3 units – Dental Materials and Lab Procedures

Spring Semester

  • DENTL 224B 2 units – Dental Radiology II
  • DENTL 226 3 units – Advanced Chairside Procedures
  • DENTL 227 2 units – Bio-dental Sciences
  • DENTL 228A 2 units – Clinical Rotations and Review
  • DENTL 228B 5 units – Clinical Rotations and Review
  • DENTL 229 1.5 units – Practice Management
  • DENTL 230 .5 units – Pit and Fissure Sealants

Highly Recommended Courses (Summer Courses)

  • DENTL 251 1 unit – Dental Terminology
  • DENTL 252 1 unit – Overview of the Dental Assisting Program

What Can I Do With a Career in Dental Assisting?

Graduates of our program go on to fill a variety of roles in and outside of the dental profession.

These include:

    • Registered dental assistant
    • Certified dental assistant
    • Registered dental assistant with extended functions
    • Oral surgery assistant
    • Certified orthodontic assistant
    • Office manager
    • Front office administrator
    • Insurance biller
    • Lab Technician


Carla Pegues, Chair, Dental Assisting Program

Renee Herold, Dental Assisting Faculty