Many dental programs always come with hands-on clinical practice and classroom teachings. However, this makes students wonder if one can acquire such a program without visiting the four walls of a classroom block. Therefore, learn about accredited online dental assistant programs.
Dental assistants help to increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care. They schedule appointments, maintain patient records, process X-rays, and help the dentist with routine or specialized procedures.
Generally, it takes between nine (9) months to two (2) years to complete a dental assisting program. This depends on whether the student is pursuing a certificate, diploma, or degree program.
This article will explain in detail the online schools where you can acquire the best accredited dental assistant programs in the world. After reading this, you will no longer have any doubts as to whether one can actually study the program online and gain certification.
Table of contents
- What Is An Online Dental Assistant Program?
- Why Online Dental Assistant Programs?
- How Long Does It Take To Acquire an Online Certificate in Dental Assistance?
- What is the Salary and Job Outlook of Dental Assistants?
- What are the Best Online Dental Assistant Programs in the World?
- #1. Oregon State University
- #2. Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis
- #3. University of Georgia
- #4. Rutgers University
- #5. North Carolina A & T State University
- #6. Southeast Community College
- #7. Sinclair Community College
- #8. California State University-San Marcos
- #9. Monroe Community College
- #10. Middlesex Community College
- #11. Ozarks Technical Community College
- #12. Eastern Iowa Community College District
- #13. Saint Louis Community College
- #14. Hudson Valley Community College
- #15. Texarkana College
- FAQs on the Best Online Dental Assistant Programs
What Is An Online Dental Assistant Program?
A dental assisting program trains students to aid dentists in various administrative and clinical roles. Here, students learn how to perform a range of functions inside the dental office including:
- sterilizing dental instruments
- assisting during dental procedures
- taking oral X-rays
- teaching patients about post-visit oral care
Most dental programs start with lectures on oral anatomy. This offers students a basic medical understanding of the physical composition of the teeth and gums. Some certificate programs may need more general science classes including anatomy and physiology or microbiology. This will give students a comprehensive scientific knowledge of the body and introductory health issues.
Most programs have several classes in dental radiology where students acquire the skills to take X-rays of patients’ teeth safely. Additionally, dental assistants carry out administrative duties together with clinical duties. Meanwhile, most certificate programs contain some classes in dental office management where students learn bookkeeping and scheduling appointments.
Completing a dental assistant certificate program takes one year of full-time study. Meanwhile, it requires a significant amount of hands-on training in clinical dental tasks before the completion of the program.
Furthermore, some online dental assisting programs are created for currently employed dental assistants who are completing the educational program so as to gain certification. Here, the employer is responsible for the dental assistant’s clinical training.
For other dental assisting programs, students can take some courses online such as dental office administration but they are required to come to campus for clinical classes.
Read more: 20 Best Executive MBA Online with Less Cost | 2023 Ranking
Why Online Dental Assistant Programs?
For several years, online learning has been a solid option for dental assisting education. But now, online programs are more efficient.
Online and hybrid programs depend majorly on local partners to offer those critical learning opportunities right at the comfort of students. It may also be very much affordable together with flexible and self-paced learning. In other words, it offers students the opportunity to spend more time on topics and study around work and family schedules. In addition, it can provide a faster means for the student to enter the profession.
The acquisition of online dental assistant programs allows students to build a solid foundation in the preclinical aspects of dental assistance. This will serve as a huge help to students prior to moving into a laboratory or office setting.
On the other hand, hands-on clinical practice is a very important aspect of every dental assisting program. What this means is that; mostly all accredited online dental assistant programs are actually hybrid programs.
At the hybrid level, students may complete all the courses or part of a course online using course management software. Students undertake the hands-on clinical practice either at local dental offices or on campus.
Meanwhile, some online programs with greater flexibility will require students to complete observations at local dental offices rather than certain pre-clinical lab practices.
You can check out: 20 Cheapest Online Ph.D. Programs in the World | Rankings
How Long Does It Take To Acquire an Online Certificate in Dental Assistance?
It will take you between six months and one year to complete a certificate program in dental assistance. Some dental programs are hybrid, in other words, the programs will require you to visit the campus for hands-on clinical practice. The schedule and flexibility of these on-campus visits can affect the amount of time your program will take to complete.
However, some dental assistant certificate programs are individually paced whereas others are offered through a cohort learning format. Individual programs will give you the opportunity to complete courses and assignments at your own pace.
Meanwhile, cohort learning programs will require you to study at the same pace as the rest of the other students. Cohort programs usually take a longer duration to complete.
Get to know: How to Effortlessly Get Online Masters Programs Without GRE
What is the Salary and Job Outlook of Dental Assistants?
According to the BLS, the average yearly wage for dental assistants was $40,080 in 2019. Thus, the lowest 10 percent made less than $27,980 while the highest 10 percent made over $56,930.
On the other hand, the BLS reports that the employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028. This, actually, will be much faster than the average for every other occupation.
According to reports, ongoing research linking oral health and general health will keep on increasing the demand for preventive dental services. Dentists will continue to hire dental assistants to help them complete routine tasks thereby making dentists to perform more efficiently.
The demand for dental assistants will continue to increase so long as dental practices grow.
What are the Best Online Dental Assistant Programs in the World?
We have put together a list of the accredited online schools that offer dental assistant programs. These institutions offer diploma, associate, and certificate dental assisting programs.
The selection was done based on the number of programs, acceptance rate, accreditation, and graduation rate.
Thus, here is a list of the best online dental assistant programs in the world:
- Oregon State University
- Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis
- University of Georgia
- Rutgers University
- North Carolina A&T State University
- Southeast Community College
- Sinclair Community College
- California State University-San Marcos
- Monroe Community College
- Middlesex Community College
- Ozarks Technical Community College
- Eastern Iowa Community College District
- Saint Louis Community College
- Hudson Valley Community College
- Texarkana College
#1. Oregon State University
Oregon State University is a public research university in Corvallis, Oregon that was founded in 1868. It offers over 200 undergraduate degree programs together with a variety of graduate and doctoral degrees.
The institution’s school of professional and continuing education provides dozens of career training options. These options include a non-credit bearing dental assistant certificate online through the interactive learning management system, eCollege.
In this program, the school prepares students for entry-level work in clinical chairside dental assisting. Students will take courses including oral anatomy, dental operatory, tooth & oral cavity structure, and prevention of dental diseases.
Most of the students complete all course requirements within six months. Additionally, it takes students twelve (12) months to complete their self-paced courses if necessary. Graduate students may complete an externship which is not compulsory at a local dentist’s office. These qualified students can now sit for Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exams on radiation health and safety and infection control.
Furthermore, the university has an acceptance rate of 79% and a graduation rate of 64%. It gains accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
#2. Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis
Founded in 1969, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis is a public research institution in Indianapolis, Indiana.
At IUPUI’s school of dentistry, it takes two-full time semesters for students to complete 31 credit hours of instruction. Upon completion, the students earn an online dental assistant certificate.
Distance learning students complete most of their courses online. Afterward, they undergo the necessary clinical experiences at dental offices in their communities.
Meanwhile, the compulsory courses include:
- Preventative dentistry and nutrition
- Microbiology and asepsis technique
- Practice management and ethics
- Dental therapeutics and medical emergencies
When combined clinical experiences, and classroom/laboratory work, it will take students over 1,000 hours of instruction. Graduate students qualify to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board Examination to become professional dental assistants.
IUPUI has an acceptance rate of 80% and a graduation rate of 45%. Finally, the dental assisting certificate program is accredited by the American Dental Association – Commission on Dental Accreditation.
#3. University of Georgia
The University of Georgia is a public research university in Athens, Georgia that was established in 1785. It has two satellite campuses in Atlanta and Lawrenceville.
The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education provides a self-paced accredited online dental assistant certificate program. In fact, students can choose to start this program throughout the year. The tuition fee for the online program covers the cost of 150 hours of eLearning course content and all the textbooks and materials.
Application for the online program here requires no prerequisites. However, students should have a knowledge of keyboarding and Microsoft software.
Eight-course sections cover business communication skills, records management, dental insurance processing, office equipment and inventory, and other essential, introductory knowledge for dental industry professionals. This accredited online dental assistance program needs no on-site components.
Georgia University has an acceptance rate of 54% and a graduation rate of 84%. It holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
#4. Rutgers University
Rutgers University is an American public research university in New Jersey that was established in 1766.
The administrative dental assistant certificate program, made available by Rutgers University-New Brunswick, prepares graduates to seek entry-level employment and fulfill all the requirements of an administrative assistant in a dental office environment. Offered by the center for continuing studies with Education to Go (ed2go), students receive an initial six months to complete the program at their own pace — and can request an additional six months at no cost, if needed.
Upon completion of the program, students possess skills and abilities in interpersonal and business communication, patient record keeping and maintenance, dental terminology, insurance processing, bookkeeping and collection, and information management. Students also gain proficiency in DENTRIX® software. The cost of ed2go programs includes all course content, textbooks, and related materials. The school does not require on-site clinical experiences for this certificate.
Rutgers University’s acceptance rate is 58% and it is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#5. North Carolina A & T State University
North Carolina A & T State University is a public , research university in Greensboro, North Carolina that was founded in 1891.
With Health Ed Today, North Carolina A&T State University offers a dental assistant certificate program ideal for busy individuals. The program includes all course materials and textbooks in the cost of tuition, and students receive six months to complete all components at their own pace.
As an open enrollment program, prospective students face no firm admission requirements, but the school encourages learners to either pursue or possess a high school diploma or GED. Through interactive learning modules and exercises, program students gain knowledge and skills in both clinical and administrative dental assisting, including introductions to the dental office, oral anatomy, dental equipment, and tooth structure. The school does not require clinical practice hours. Graduates may sit for the Dental Assisting National Board exams on radiation health and safety and infection control.
N.C. A&T has an acceptance rate of 62% and a graduation rate of 44%. It holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
#6. Southeast Community College
Southeast Community College is a public community college that is located in the southeast part of Nebraska. It has three campuses and over 20 off-campus sites in 15 counties.
Southeast Community College comprises nearly a dozen campuses and learning centers located in Nebraska. SCC students can earn a dental assistant certificate online or on-campus in as little 12 months of full-time study. Admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA, completion of prerequisite courses, and submission of transcripts, a resume, and proof of CPR certification and health insurance.
A combination of clinical experiences (a total of 300 hours at a preapproved dentistry office or clinic), classroom, and laboratory instruction ensures that all program graduates qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant Exam, ultimately leading to licensure. Students develop skills in dental health education, chairside assisting, laboratory procedures, radiology processing, management, and business office procedures.
The Higher Learning Commission regionally accredits Southeast Community College. The dental assisting program at SCC is further accredited by the American Dental Association – Commission on Dental Accreditation.
#7. Sinclair Community College
Sinclair Community College is a public community college in Dayton, Ohio
Earning a short-term dental assistant certificate online from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH requires the completion of only 17 credit hours. Admission to this technical certificate requires departmental approval, a 2.0 minimum GPA, and completion of a course on distance learning. Successful program graduates can pursue licensure through the Ohio State Certified Dental Assisting examination.
This hybrid program requires travel to campus one or two days a week for attendance at on-campus lab components where students put their online learning into practice — developing and demonstrating specific dental assisting techniques and skills. Students can complete other program elements online, including courses in interpersonal communication, introduction to dental terminology, dental assisting office management, and dental assisting radiography. SCC data shows that students generally complete the program in 32 weeks.
It holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
#8. California State University-San Marcos
California State University-San Marcos is a public university in San Marcos, California that was established in 1989.
At the university, students can choose from six online dental assistant certificate programs through the extended learning school at CSUSM. The online programs here are non-credit. In addition, they are offered through a partnership with World Education and they focus on professional development and preparation for certification and licensure examinations.
It takes a period of six months to complete the dental assistant program. Courses that students will take include the history and legal aspects of dentistry, oral anatomy, dental equipment, and dental operation procedures.
On the other hand, the students can choose to pursue a family care specialization or participate in an externship at a local dentist’s. Although programs are taken independently and self-paced, each student receives the support of a certified facilitator who can answer questions about, and ensure mastery of, course material, certifications, and the dental industry.
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
#9. Monroe Community College
Monroe Community College is a public community college in Monroe County, New York that was established in 1961.
It offers a rapid track dental assistant certificate program online only for currently employed dental assistants seeking to gain professional licensure in New York State.
The program combines online lectures and learning components with on-the-job clinical training under the sponsorship of a practicing dental professional.
Online courses cover subjects including chairside and specialty dental procedures, manipulation of dental materials, legal and ethical aspects of the industry, and relevant biomedical science.
The program requires the completion of 15 credit hours and at least 500 on-site hours of clinical experience. Students can complete these required clinical hours in a private dental office, clinic, or hospital setting as long as a qualified dental professional provides sponsorship. Most students complete all curriculum and clinical requirements in 30 weeks.
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#10. Middlesex Community College
Middlesex Community College is a public community college in Massachusetts that was founded in 1970.
Through a partnership with the online education platform, Education to Go, the institution offers an extensive selection of continuing education courses and training programs outside the classroom.
Among the 300+ programs and courses are two dental assistant certificate programs in clinical assisting and administrative assisting. These self-paced programs consist of 240 and 150 hours of content, respectively, and take approximately six months from start to finish.
The clinical assistant course focuses majorly on anatomy and physiology, patient care, and chairside skills The administrative course deals with the operations of a dental office including bookkeeping and record keeping, insurance processes, and interpersonal communication. Both programs offer full online completion and they do not require any on-site components.
Finally, the institution holds accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
#11. Ozarks Technical Community College
Ozarks Technical Community College is a public community college in Springfield, Missouri that was founded in 1990. The institution offers certificates, associate degrees, and other short-term programs.
At OTC, students can complete dental assistant certificate programs through traditional classroom means or a hybrid of online and on-campus courses.
Students enrolled in the hybrid program complete courses online but they must attend some on-campus meetings in Springfield and clinical practices at local dental offices.
The 40-credit curriculum comprises courses in chairside assisting, operative dentistry, dental radiology, and dental office procedures. Additionally, the curriculum has a few general education courses and open-elective options.
However, applicants must complete preadmissions Bennett & Wonderlic testing monitored by OTC testing services.
Upon completion, qualified students of either program take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination (DANB) to become a certified dental assistant.
OTC holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The dental assisting program at OTC is accredited by the American Dental Association – Commission on Dental Accreditation.
#12. Eastern Iowa Community College District
Established in 1965, the Eastern Iowa Community College includes three community colleges (Clinton Junior College, Muscatine Junior College and the vocational-technical programs of the Davenport schools).
It offers lots of non-degree and non-credit programs through the popular, third-party online platform, Education to Go including an administrative dental assistant program. Here, students pay just a fee which covers the cost of all courses and textbooks.
The program requires no specific prerequisites or admission requirements apply since it does not provide any college credit.
In the online program, students complete all requirements which stretch across 150 hours of materials in eight sections within six months. These sections include the dental profession, interpersonal communication skills, records management, scheduling and recall systems, dental insurance processing, financial management, office equipment, and inventory, and employment strategies.
Upon graduation, students pursue administrative jobs in the dental industry.
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Check out: How To Get Masters In Healthcare Informatics Online | Programs, Requirements, Cost
#13. Saint Louis Community College
St. Louis Community College is a public community college in Saint Louis, Missouri that was founded in 1962.
The institution offers an accredited online dental assistant certificate program that takes one year to complete. This program provides students with professional knowledge in patient education and management, chairside skills, and radiographic procedures.
The 45-credit program is made up of classroom instruction and participation in laboratory and clinical work. Four unique “Expanded Functions” courses cover techniques and procedures delegated to dental assistants by the Missouri Dental Practice Act.
Three compulsory practicums that are spread throughout the program duration provide on-site dental office experience in roles of increasing responsibility. Here, the first practicum is an introduction to the dental office and basic tasks, the second practicum is an opportunity to increase proficiency, and the third practicum demands the student to carry out all duties of a dental assistant.
Upon graduation, qualified students gain entry-level employment on a dental health care team.
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
#14. Hudson Valley Community College
Hudson Valley Community College is a public community college in Troy, New York that was established in 1953. It offers over 80 academic degrees and certificate programs (over 20 online) in four (4) schools.
The Dental Hygiene Department of the institution provides an online dental assistant certificate program. This program is perfect for individuals who wish to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.
The courses meet all the requirements of the New York State for prospective certified registered dental assistants. In addition, students can complete the entire online program within one year.
In the same vein, applicants must have current CPR certification. Students complete 27 credits in courses created to give them knowledge of the dental industry and workplace expectations.
Major courses in the online program include dental anatomy and embryology, dental assisting radiology, dental office procedures, and oral hygiene education and nutrition. Additionally, students complete two clinical experiences (one per semester) which is about 225 on-site hours of observation, practice, and evaluation in a dental office.
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#15. Texarkana College
Texarkana College is a public community college in Texarkana, Texas that was founded in 1927.
The partnership between Texarkana College and Health Ed offers students access to an interactive, self-paced online program with 50 hours of instruction in clinical and administrative dental assisting. The program does not require on-site components for students to graduate.
Furthermore, students complete non-credit courses at their own pace over six months. They gain basic knowledge of the history of the dental industry, anatomy, and structure of the oral cavity and teeth.
Additionally, they learn legal policies and issues in dentistry, dental equipment usage, and sterilization procedures.
Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Presently, dental assistants have become very useful for high-quality oral care. Several dental institutions train dentists in the method of four-handed dentistry. Here, a dental assistant and a dentist work together in order to perform clinical duties efficiently.
Online dental assistant programs prepare students for various tasks. Some of these include sterilizing instruments for a patient’s clinical visit, removing oral sutures, processing X-rays, and making oral casts.
Through the online program, you can actually study around work and family schedules at an affordable rate. In addition, you can gain certification and enter the profession on time through the online platform.
FAQs on the Best Online Dental Assistant Programs
Yes. DANB-certified assistants make an average of $18.60 per hour while non-DANB-certified assistants make an average of $16.59.
According to DANB Executive Director Cindy Durley, “earning and maintaining DANB certification can positively impact a dental assistant’s earnings”.
Yes. Most states permit this for entry-level dental assistants and do not require formal training to start the job. However, you can acquire on-the-job experience to see if you like dental assisting before pursuing a formal dental assisting education.
You can become a dental assistant by acquiring a diploma or certificate online. First, you will have to take the CDA exam in person at an accredited testing facility so as to earn a national certification.
It will cost you $3,000 to gain a dental assistant certification, while a degree will cost you $13,000. Depending on your state, it may require you to pass additional Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exams, which will cost you extra fees.
- Dental Assistant Online Certification & Training Program
- Online Dental Assistant School | Training Course
- The Best Online Dental Assistant Degree Programs
- 15 Best Online Data Science Masters Program in the World
- Best Online Masters Degree In English | Programs, Requirements, Cost
- How Can I Get A Masters Degree In Criminology Online | Schools, Requirements, Cost
- Online Masters Degree in Elementary Education Programs Guide
- 15 cheapest online business degree in the World | Best Ranking
- 17 Best Online MBA Without Undergraduate Degree