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Dental Assisting


Program          Awards:
Certificate of Achievement &
Associate in Science Degree Optional
Approx. Cost
Approx. Length
1 Intersession
Accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Dental Examiners, Committee on Dental Auxiliaries
Allied Health A010
Health Occupations   &
Allied Health A111 Medical Terminology

Dental Assisting is a challenging field requiring skills in chairside assisting, dental radiology, preventive therapy, patient management, receptionist duties, expanded functions and office management. Qualified dental assistants find employment opportunities in a variety of settings such as private dental offices, specialty practices, federal or state dental programs and dental schools. 

The Dental Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and has been granted the accreditation status of approval.  The commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.  The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted as 312-440-4653 or at 211 E. Chicago Ave, Chicago IL 60611.  Accrediateion Status: Approval with reporting requirements.
The program is also accredited by the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, Dental Board of California, 2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1550, Sacramento, CA 95815. Students are eligible to take the National Certification Exam and State Licensing Examination for Registered Dental Assistants.
Registered Dental Assistant functions are taught to laboratory competency and clinical competency where applicable.  A list of laboratory and clinical competencies is available on request.  Students must complete all required courses with a grade of “C” or better.  This program is a sequential program.  All fall semester courses must be taken concurrently in the fall semester.  All spring semester courses must be taken concurrently in the spring semester.


Program Outcome

The outcome of the program is to meet the needs of the local health care community by preparing students for employment as a professional and competent registered dental assistant.
Program Goals
1.  70% of students pass the RDA Examinations
2.  80% of students indicate “Very Good” level on survey in overall quality of program
3.  80% of students obtain employment as a DA/RDA or transfer to other colleges for  
     additional education training         
4.  80% of students participate in Dental Assisting organizations thereby contributing
     to growth and development of the Dental Assisting profession
5.  Incorporate current dental technology into curriculum which aligns with industry
Description of job for which program prepares students


Dental Assisting is a challenging field requiring skills in chair side assisting, dental radiology, preventive therapy, patient management, receptionist duties, expanded functions and office management.


Required program prerequisites
q  Allied Health A010: Health Occupations
q  Allied Health A111: Medical Terminology    
Associate of Science Degree and Certificate
May receive certificate without completion of the Associate of Science degree.
Does this program transfer?
Some units are transferable to Dental Hygiene Programs and may also transfer for an advanced degree in allied health programs at California State Universities.
Procedure for program admittance
Program admittance is accomplished by taking program prerequisite, Allied Health A010-Health Occupations and Allied Health A111 Medical Terminology.  ALH A010 is a short-term course in which prospective students will submit an application to the program. Students are selected and admitted into the program on a first-come, first-serve basis by date of application. Allied Health A111 Medical Terminology may be completed at any time, but is completion is required prior to program admittance. Both Allied Health A010 and Allied Health A111 must be completed with a grade “C” or better before program entry.
Program start
The program starts in the fall semester every year.  All classes must be taken in sequence as listed in the college catalog.
Employment possibilities upon program completion
Private dental offices, specialty practices, federal or state dental programs, dental schools, Health Maintenance Organizations, dental office managers, dental receptionists, dental insurance clerk, and sales representatives.  There is a high demand for dental assistants and Registered Dental Assistants (RDA) in Orange County, all of California, and nationwide.  This trend is predicted for the next decade.
Starting salary range (without RDA license): $14-$18/hour. With experience and RDA
license/certifications salary range is $18-$24/hour. Excellent benefits and working conditions.
Length of program
Two semesters and one intersession.
Spaces available
 Licenses obtained from program.
1.  State Radiation x-ray license
2.  Coronal polishing Certification
3.  Pit and Fissure Sealant Certification
4.  CPR certificate
5.  Student will be eligible to take the Registered Dental Assisting examination
     and the National Certification examination upon completion of the program.
Background checks

All students will be required to submit an application for pre-clinical background/drug screen check. The background check will include County Criminal Records (past 7 years), Residency History Search, Social Security Alert, Nationwide Healthcare Fraud & Abuse Registry (OIG/GSA), Nationwide Sexual Offender Registry and a California DMV report. The drug screening will include THC, cocaine, opiates, PCP, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methaqualone, propoxyphene and methadone. If requested by the clinical site, the results of the background/drug checks must be provided to them by the student.


Clinical requirements


The program requires that students participate in scheduled course clinical experience concurrent with classroom courses. Clinical assignments provide students with hands-on application of knowledge and skills learned in the classroom and laboratory courses at OCC contracted hospitals, medical centers, and/or outpatient facilities.  It is the responsibility of each student to provide his or her own transportation to assigned clinical sites.

Prior to entry into clinical, students are required to complete/obtain:

q  A physical examination
q  Criminal background/drug screen check clearance
q  CPR, HIPAA training, Blood borne pathogen training provided through Al H A115
q  Student liability insurance
Students must adhere to appropriate required dress code which may include a laboratory coat or scrubs, clinic shoes, nametag, and other program specific requirements.
The Registered Dental Assisting Program has established the Bloodborne Pathogen Program to minimize or eliminate exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other infectious diseases that may result from the performance of their duties as students in the program or in clinical affiliates.  The Registered Dental Assisting Program complete Bloodborne Pathogen Program Policy is available to applicants and can be found on the this website. The policy on Bloodborne Pathogens is also available to applicants in the program coordinator’s office.
Clinical sites may require drug testing or other blood work.  There may be exposure to hazardous materials and infectious pathogens in the clinical setting.  Students will adhere to all safety and standard precautionary measures.  The student receives no financial compensation for clinical experience, but does receive course units as a required class in the program. All students participate in clinical rotation at UCLA School of Dentistry.


Dental Assisting classes must be taken and completed in the appropriate sequence in order to advance from fall semester to the spring semester and graduate from the program.


Contact information
Heather Moreno, Program Coordinator              Caryn Plum, Allied Health Advisor
Office: Allied Health Bldg., 205-C                         Office: CS&D, Room 101-C                         
Phone: 714-432-5565                                        714-432-5945
                                   Make a Counseling Appointment online
                              Allied Health Program Assistant: 714-432-5729
                               Alexia Wood -