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College of Marin’s Registered Dental Assisting Program combines the technical knowledge and skills required to function successfully as a chairside dental assistant with the essential aspects of office procedures. The expanded functions that are required for state licensure are taught to clinical proficiency.

Students who have completed the program can expect to be fully prepared to take the California State Written and Practical Exam to receive their Registered Dental Assisting (RDA) license and take their National Certified Dental Assistant Examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).   With either option, students also earn various State of California certificates with successful completion of specific coursework, including radiology licensing; infection control; coronal polish; pit and fissure sealants; and ultrasonic scaling. 

Program enrollment by application.

 

Dental Assisting Program Options – What does COM Offer?

CLICK on the program award to view costs and required classes for each certificate and degree

Registered Dental Assisting Certificate of Achievement (38.0 units)

Time to Completion (minimum):3 semesters
Estimated Tuition & Fees*:$1748.00
Estimated Books & Supplies*:$1731.00
Required Courses (38.0 units)
Class CodeNameCompletedUnits
DENT 172Dental Science I3.0
DENT 174Dental Materials3.0
DENT 176Dental Morphology, Histology, and Recordings3.0
DENT 178Dental Science II3.0
DENT 180Chairside I3.0
DENT 182Dental Radiology3.0
DENT 183Advanced Dental Procedures1.5
DENT 184Chairside Procedures II5.0
DENT 186Clinical Dental Radiology1.5
DENT 187Clinical/Technique Practicum1.0
DENT 188Chairside Clinical and Operative Procedures6.0
DENT 190Dental Practice Management and Economics2.0
DENT 192Clinical Applications in Dental Offices2.0
DENT 192APit and Fissure Sealants1.0
 

Registered Dental Assisting Associates Degree (60.0 units)

Time to Completion (minimum):3 semesters
Estimated Tuition & Fees*:$2760.00
Estimated Books & Supplies*:$1404.00
Required Courses (38.0 units)
Class CodeNameCompletedUnits
DENT 172Dental Science I3.0
DENT 174Dental Materials3.0
DENT 176Dental Morphology, Histology, and Recordings3.0
DENT 178Dental Science II3.0
DENT 180Chairside I3.0
DENT 182Dental Radiology3.0
DENT 183Advanced Dental Procedures1.5
DENT 184Chairside Procedures II5.0
DENT 186Clinical Dental Radiology1.5
DENT 187Clinical/Technique Practicum1.0
DENT 188Chairside Clinical and Operative Procedures6.0
DENT 190Dental Practice Management and Economics2.0
DENT 192Clinical Applications in Dental Offices2.0
DENT 192APit and Fissure Sealants1.0
 
General Education (22.0 units)
See a Counselor.
* These expenses may not reflect your actual cost to attend College of Marin.
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Tuition cost is for in-state tuition, which is currently $46/unit plus additional fees. For out-of-state tuition, see marin.edu/paying-college.
-For information about opportunities for financial aid, please visit marin.edu/financial-aid
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or financial aid and enrollment questions, contact Enrollment Services at (415) 457-8811 Ext. 8822 or admissions@marin.edu.
Some classes may have prerequisites. Please meet with a College of Marin Counselor to plan your education path and determine which classes are necessary for you.

Career Outlook

What work can I get and how much can I earn?

JOB TITLE: Dental Assistant

  • Annual Earnings: $30,730 to $63,320
  • What They Do: Assist dentist, set up equipment, prepare patient for treatment, and keep records.

JOB TITLE: Dental /Medical Secretary

  • Annual Earnings: $29,860 to $64,820
  • What They Do: Perform secretarial duties using specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. Duties may include scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.

JOB TITLE: Dental Hygienist*

  • Annual Earnings: $72,550 to $131,490
  • What They Do: Clean teeth, examine gums, expose and develop x-ray film, and record and review patient medical histories.
*Dental Hygienist position typically requires an Associate Degree or 4-year school. After COM, you can go on to hygiene school, dental school, public health for continuing education, if desired to advance to this position.
To explore these professions in more detail or find out about other growing professions, visit onetonline.org.
Salary ranges reflect 10% to 90% of annual earnings per data sourced from Economic Modeling Specialists International (www.economicmodeling.com); data includes the North Bay Region (Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma) and San Francisco County.

Key Contacts

Who do I contact if I have questions?

PLAN: Call the Counseling Office at (415) 485-9432

OTHER QUESTIONS: Call COM's Career Programs Dept at (415) 457-8811 x8205

 

PROGRAM QUESTIONS:

Contact Wende Bohlke, Instructor and Program Coordinator

Phone: (415) 457-8811 x8412
Email: wbohlke@marin.edu

 

Why Choose College of Marin for Registered Dental Assisting?

  • Dental Board approved classes taught by Dental Board Certified Instructors.
  • Accredited program from a WIOA-approved college.
  • Additional key industry certifications are part of the program, preparing you to work on a full range of dental techniques. The program includes certification for Radiation Safety, Infection Control, Coronal Polish, and Pit & Fissure Sealants. See our Industry Certifications page for more information.
  • COM’s program uses state-of-the-art equipment, including digital radiography and computer-based management.
  • Amazing faculty with strong real-world experience. Our faculty have over 100 years of real-world experience combined. The head of the department has had a practice for over 30 years, with six employees.
  • COM’s program provides an easy migration into dentistry – curriculum shaped and structured to support work. It is great career for adults re-entering the workforce too!
  • Affordable: College of Marin classes are open to all and cost only $46 per unit for California residents.
    • Starting here is a terrific and inexpensive way to start your career in dental assisting.
    • Financial aid and student support services are available to those who qualify.
  • Connected to Industry Leaders: College of Marin career education instructors are highly experienced and well-connected industry professionals recognized as healthcare experts. We have an excellent working relationship with Kaiser Permanente and other state-wide healthcare providers, and work with them to ensure a quality learning experience during students’ clinical externships.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What else should I know?

I am interested in career in Dental Assisting. How do I get started?

Please start by reviewing the current information on the COM Dental Assisting Program on our website. We also encourage all prospective students to make an appointment with a COM counselor by calling (415) 485-9432 or making an appointment online.

Are there any class prerequisites?

In order to be accepted into the Dental Assisting Program, students must complete the following:

  • High School Diploma, GED or equivalent
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • English 98/98SL or equivalent or higher
  • Health Clearance Form
  • CPR/first aid certification

All of the above-listed requirements must be completed before students will be cleared to register for their Dental Assisting courses. However, students may submit their online Dental Assisting Program applications while the requirements are still in progress. Please note that preference will be given to those students who have completed all requirements, and students will not be cleared to register for courses until requirements are met.

Do I need to apply to the College of Marin and the Dental Assisting Program separately?

Yes, if you are not already a COM student (with a M00#) then you will need to apply to the college. Please visit marin.edu/apply to apply to the college. Once you have a M00#, you can apply to the Dental Assisting Program via our website by completing the online application.

How many students will be accepted?

24 students will be accepted each Fall into the Dental Assisting Program.

Where can I get a job as a Dental Assistant?

Once you complete your education and get your certificate, there are Dental Assisting jobs just about everywhere. Dental Assistants are in high demand and it is generally easy to go directly into the workforce in the Bay Area — or go on to hygiene school, dental school, public health from here for continuing education, if desired. Finding a job in Dental Assisting is often very flexible as well:

  • Great work for those needing/desiring a flexible schedule – you can do job shares, etc.
  • Dentistry work is highly portable – credentials are recognized throughout the US and typically internationally too!
What opportunities will I have for advanced positions?

Your College of Marin Associate degree (A.S.) in Registered Dental Assisting will transfer toward a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science at California State Universities. If you want to plan now to pursue advanced opportunities in the future (e.g. Registered Dental Hygienist or Dentist), make an appointment with a COM counselor (call (415) 485-9432) to plan your career path.

Can I take individual courses in the program without applying to the program?

No, you must be enrolled in the entire program in order to take courses. Students may elect to enroll in the full-time 10-month program or the part-time 18-month program.

Is the Dental Assisting Program accredited?

The American Dental Association, Commission of Dental Accreditation, hereafter referred to as the “Commission,” accredits the COM Dental Assisting Program. The Commission is a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Does the program do job placement for graduates?

Not officially, but the Health Sciences Department at COM does send out frequent job openings to our students when they become available. Most graduates do not have trouble finding a job, as dental assistants are in high demand. 

PLEASE NOTE: This program is subject to change! For the most up-to-date information and to plan an individualized education plan, please see a College of Marin Counselor.
This program is eligible for financial assistance under the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA). For information about opportunities for financial aid, please contact Enrollment Services at (415) 457-8811 Ext. 8822 or admissions@marin.edu.
Gainful Employment - For more information about College of Marin graduation and completion rates, the median debt of students who have completed our programs, and other important gainful employment information, please visit www1.marin.edu/gainful-employment.