Dental Assisting Diploma – Program Detail

Program Mission/Overview

The Dental Assisting Program provides quality education and opportunities for the Dental Assisting students to be successful in the program. The faculty and staff will encourage professional and ethical behavior. The program will provide an environment to promote the team concept, lifelong learning, and the development of the skills and attitudes necessary to achieve the student’s goal of becoming a Certified Dental Assistant.

Program Goals

  • Acquire knowledge and skills necessary to provide a safe environment for clients and dental staff.
  • Master basic dental theory and competencies for successful completion of the Dental Assisting National Board exam
  • Develop and refine skills in chairside, clinical, radiographic, and laboratory procedures.
  • Acquire knowledge and skills to promote and participate in preventive dental care.
  • Promote the dental team concept and understand the importance of professional conduct and ethics.
  • Promote personal commitment to contouring education and educational advancement.
  • Successfully complete the dental assisting program.

Graduates are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination to become Certified Dental Assistants. As a Dental Assistant II, defined by the Dental Laws of North Carolina, graduates work in dental offices and other related areas.

Program Outcomes

The dental assisting curriculum prepares individuals to assist the dentist in the delivery of dental treatment and to function as integral members of the dental team while performing chairside and related office and laboratory procedures. Common program outcomes include:

  • 100% satisfaction of graduates with quality of instruction in Dental Assisting as recorded on exit surveys.
  • 100% pass rate on the Dental Assisting National Board Examination by students that have chosen to become certified Dental Assistants.
  • Greater than 70% program graduation completion rate by students enrolling in the program full-time.


This program has limited enrollment of 20 new students that are accepted in the Fall semester class. Students are chosen by a selective admissions process based on grades earned in required related courses (i.e. biology, communications, and psychology). The Admissions Office can provide additional information on the selection process and the deadline requirements.

The Dental Assisting students are required to maintain a “C” average in both lecture and laboratory in order to satisfactorily complete any course in the dental assisting curriculum. They are allowed to make one (1) “D” in a DEN or BIO course and continue on academic probation. If they make a second “D” or an “F” in any DEN or BIO course, then they are not allowed to continue in the full-time program.

Accreditation does require a specific number of class, lab, and clinical hours for the student to graduate, so there are strict attendance rules. If the student surpasses the allowed number of hours missed, they will be dropped from the program and will have to re-apply to the program for the next year. Re-admission may be possible, but requires re-application and approval from the college.

Job Placement

100% of the program graduates that have continued their education and entered the workforce were employed within six months of graduation. The majority of the graduates are employed in the triad region or near their residence in outlying counties. “Job prospects for dental assistants should be excellent. Employment is expected to GROW MUCH FASTER THAN AVERAGE for all occupations through the year 2012. In fact, dental assistants are expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations through the year 2012. In addition to job openings due to employment growth, numerous job openings will arise out of the need to replace assistants who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Population growth and greater retention of natural teeth by middle-aged and older people will fuel demand for dental services. Older dentists, who have been less likely to employ assistants, are leaving the occupation and will be replaced by recent graduates, who are more likely to use one or even two assistants. In addition, as Dentists’ workloads increase, they are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine tasks, so that they may devote their own time to more profitable procedures”.


The program facility is located on the ground floor of Snyder Hall, on Main Campus. There is patient parking at the side of Snyder Hall that is appropriately marked.


  1. What does a Dental Assistant do? Is it hard work? Do I have to put my fingers in mouths?
    Dental Assisting is a very exciting and challenging profession which offers a variety of tasks in a clean, pleasant environment. It provides the personal rewards and satisfaction that come from serving others. Dentistry is, however, an exacting and highly disciplined health field that requires a high level of mental concentration and physical endurance from each team member. Yes, we do put our gloved fingers into our patients’ mouths.
  2. What personal attributes and physical abilities does a Dental Assistant need?
    Although a multitude of personality types are found in Dental Assisting, there are some shared attributes and abilities. A Dental Assistant must reflect optimum mental and physical health; also, good finger dexterity and eye-hand coordination are essential. Dental Assistants should have a sincere interest in and concern for people and be able to work and communicate effectively as team members.
  3. Is formal training a prerequisite to working in a dental office?
    While formal training is NOT a requisite to employment as a Dental Assistant in North Carolina, lack of it certainly limits the individual’s value to the dentist. Remember that certain clearly defined functions, such as dental radiography and coronal polishing can be performed ONLY by the formally trained assistant.

Program Costs

Program costs listed are estimates and subject to change. Tuition is based on the in-state rate of $42.00 per credit hour.

  • Tuition $1,700.00
  • Textbooks/Supplies $1,000.00
  • Uniforms $250.00
  • Liability Insurance $18.00
  • Parking Fee $10.00
  • Student DA Assoc. dues $35.00
  • Class dues $20.00
  • Graduation Fee $10.00
  • Total Estimated costs: $3,043.00

Staff Directory

  • Jean Middleswarth
    Director of Health Services
  • Karen Clement
    Health Services Secretary
  • Jannette Whisenhunt, CDA, RDH, Ph.D.
    Department Chair, Dental Programs
  • Cindy Edwards
    Program Coordinator Dental Assisting