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Dental Assisting

Located on Palm Beach State's Lake Worth campus, this 11-month certificate program provides high-quality training in Dental Assisting at an affordable cost. As a state college, our tuition is a fraction of what private schools cost.

Where You Study Matters - A Nationally Accredited Program

  • Palm Beach State's Dental Assisting program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (ADA CODA) and approved by the Florida State Board of Dentistry (FBOD)
  • Our program is currently the only ADA CODA-accredited Dental Assisting program in Palm Beach County.
  • Radiography and Expanded Function state certifications are included in the program.
  • Graduates are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) to become Certified Dental Assistants.
  • Students enrolled in the Dental Assisting program work directly with community dentists providing treatment on patients in our state of the art dental clinic on the Lake Worth campus.

When you also consider our experienced and credentialed instructors, small class sizes and up-to-date dental facilities, you will see why Palm Beach State is the smart place to start your Dental Assisting career.

What is a Dental Assistant?
Dental Assisting is a rewarding career that is in high demand. Dental Assistants are found in 94% of all U.S. dental practices and clinics, working alongside dentists and dental hygienists as an important member of the dental health care team.

Dental Assisting as a Career
Oral health is absolutely critical to overall health and appearance. As the public's focus on oral health increases, so does the need for dental assistants. The high demand for dental assistants gives you the opportunity to choose the type of practice, geographic area and working environment you would prefer. As a key member of the dental healthcare team, dental assistants can work in a variety of settings, including:

  • General dentist's office
  • Specialty dentist's office
  • College/university dental clinic
  • Public health department
  • Veterans Administration clinic

Job Prospects
A rewarding career for caring people, dental assisting is also one of the nation's most in-demand occupations.

  • Florida has shortage of dental assistants (Florida Dental Association)
  • Estimated number of job openings average around 910 per year. (Florida Agency for Workforce Development)
  • Annual growth rate is 3.3 percent, higher than other health-related occupations (Florida Dental Association)
  • 94% of all U.S. dentists employ a dental assistant
  • The median annual income of dental assistants was $33,470 in May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What does a dental assistant do?

  • Works directly with the dentist chairside
  • Assists with providing patients high-level oral health care and education
  • Manages the business aspects of the dental practice

What does a chairside dental assistant do?

  • Instrument Transfer
  • Sterilization
  • Prepares operatories and patients for treatments
  • Patient education and post op instruction
  • Review and maintain patients charts
  • Prepares laboratory prescriptions

Career Paths for Dental Assistants
There are many options open to you in the dental health care field.

First, become a Certified Dental Assistant
Because Palm Beach State is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation (ADA CODA), our graduates are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board exam (DANB). By passing this exam, you become a Certified Dental Assistant. Certified dental assistants have greater earning potential.

Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA)
Being an EFDA is the highest level of employment for a dental assistant. In Florida, having completed formal training at Palm Beach State's accredited Dental Assisting program, you will be legally eligible to:

  • Take Impressions
  • Preliminary dental charting
  • Polish clinical crowns
  • Polish amalgam restorations
  • Apply topical fluorides and fluoride varnishes
  • Apply sealants
  • Place and remove rubber dams
  • Remove sutures
  • Place and remove periodontal dressings
  • Insert and remove surgical dressings
  • Pack and remove non-vasoactive retraction cord
  • Fabricate temporary crowns and bridges
  • Cement temporary crowns and bridges
  • Remove excess cement
  • Place and remove matrices
  • Apply cavity liners and bases
  • Place and remove temporary restorations
  • Fabrication of bleaching and fluoride trays
  • Position and expose dental radiographs

(per Chapter 466, Florida Statute -- Rule 64B5, Florida Administrative Code)

Other dental career options include:

Dental Hygienist: As a graduate of the College's Dental Assisting program, you will have earned 19 credits toward the A.S. degree in Dental Hygiene (

Dental Office Manager: Dental assistants can use their knowledge on the business side of a dental practice. Instead of being chairside, you will be handling finances, maintaining records, working with insurance companies and suppliers, and fostering good patient relationships.

Dental Sales Representative: Through your knowledge of dental care, you can transition into sales for a dental supply/furnishings manufacturer.

Dental Assistant Instructor: Apply your knowledge to teach others this rewarding profession.

Program Start Date: The Dental Assisting program has fall entry only:

Application Deadline: July 1, 2020       Fall classes start in mid-August

Program Length: 11 months (No prerequisites; includes final semester externship)

Program Credits and Clock/Contact Hours: This program consists of 1230 clock/contact hours (12 courses will transfer to the College’s Dental Hygiene A.S. degree program.)

Program Location: Lake Worth campus (4200 Congress Ave.)

Program Schedule: Monday - Friday; full-time days. Program cannot be taken part-time. Classes and labs are held during the day, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., with some variation according to semester.

Number of Seats: Approximately 20-25 students are accepted into the program at one time.

Dental Assisting Points for Selection:

Once all general admission criteria have been satisfied, a point system is utilized for selection of students to the program. 

Point System
Points may be awarded if you fit this criteria: Requirement to meet criteria Points allotted
College Cumulative GPA Point awarded is actual GPA 2.5 - 4.0
Palm Beach County Resident Applicant must submit copy of current government identification or Florida State identification/Drivers License with Palm Beach County address to earn points 2 points
Course Completion of VPI 0400 - Strategies for College Success

Optional Course- Cost $30.00

(If SLS 1501 previously completed same points awarded)

1 point
U.S. Veteran Applicant must submit copy of DD214 indicating honorable discharge 1 point
Six months or more of Dental Experience (i.e. front desk, dental assistant,dental lab tech)

Reference letter from immediate supervisor/dentist on company/office letterhead outlining specific experience and verification of employment dates


2 points
   Maximum Points Possible               



Instructors and Facilities:
Students receive instruction by credentialed dental professionals. Laboratory and clinical classes are held in a state of the art dental clinic located on the Lake Worth Campus.

Program Costs: As a public institution, Palm Beach State's tuition is affordable--see Student Costs. Tuition and other costs also are reviewed at our Information Sessions.

Financial Aid: Financial aid is available for this program and it is recommended that you apply early at In addition, there are a limited number of scholarships available through the Palm Beach State College Foundation (

Graduation Certificates: Graduates will receive a Career Certificate Program (CCP) certificate, as well as a Radiography and Florida Expanded Functions Certificate.

Professional Certification: Graduates are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB; to become Certified Dental Assistants.

Accreditation: The programs in dental assisting and dental hygiene are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.  The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.  The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312-440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.  The Commission's web address is:

The program is also approved by the Florida State Board of Dentistry for the purpose of providing continuing/advanced education and expanded duties training for Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants.

Program Curriculum: Please see Catalog Program Details for more information on Dental Assisting courses, including links to course descriptions.

Required Course Sequence -
Note: This program has no prerequisites

Career Certificate Program (CCP5155)
Costs are approximate & subject to change.

Program Clock/Contact Hours:
The program consists of 1230 clock/credit hours.

Tuition Rates   (Per Clock/Contact Hour)

Textbooks: $600.00

Uniforms: $200.00

Miscellaneous: $800.00



What is Required to Get Started?

You must hold a standard high school diploma or GED. No prerequisites are required.

Ready to Apply?

Please download and read the Dental Assisting Limited Access Application. This document contains:

  • Full details on entry requirements and steps for meeting requirements
  • Instructions on completing necessary applications for both the College and program
  • Review of applicant point system for selection
  • The one-page Dental Assisting program application (last page of document); a separate online College application must also be completed by first-time students.

Keep Learning at Palm Beach State

Upon completion of the Dental Assisting program, 12 courses may be transferred toward the Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene degree.

Credits from the Dental Hygiene A.S. degree may transfer to Palm Beach State's Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Supervision and Management, with concentration options in General Management, Health Management and Public Safety Management.

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