Dental Assistant Diploma

Why Choose Dental Assistant Diploma at CLC?

The dental assisting program offers a solid foundation in the field of dentistry. If you are thinking about being a dental hygienist, dental lab technician, or dental sales representative, dental assisting is a great beginning point in a career in dentistry.

The curriculum prepares you for the national certification exam, and the state licensure exam.

A solid internship program that offers the experience necessary for a dental assisting career. Internship sites are existing throughout the state of Minnesota.

Job opportunities throughout the state of Minnesota and nationally. We have graduates working in Montana, Florida, Colorado, California, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi and Missouri and throughout the entire state of Minnesota.

Our instructors have a wealth of industry and teaching experience to help aid students in their educational goals.

About the Program

Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands as well as your mind and want a career with responsibility, dental assisting is for you.

The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. The dental assistant performs many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills.

Although state regulations vary, responsibilities may include:
• assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures
• taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays)
• performing mechanical polishing to clinical crowns
• helping to provide direct patient care in all dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery
• providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling)
• taking the patient’s medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse
• taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts (models of teeth)
• communicating with patients and suppliers (e.g., scheduling appointments, answering the telephone, billing and ordering supplies)
• serving as an infection control officer, developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment
• teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health; (e.g., toothbrushing, flossing and nutritional counseling)
• performing office management tasks that require the use of a personal computer with dental software programs Select licensing, and then delegated duties. To view all Minnesota expanded functions.

Program Information

Program Course Requirements

Program Course Requirements

Fall Semester
DENT 1106 Dental Orientation & Anatomy (2 cr)
DENT 1108** General Anatomy (3 cr)
DENT 1116* Dental Clinic I (8 cr)
DENT 1118 Dental Radiology I (2 cr)
DENT 1120 Preventive Dentistry (2 cr)
DENT 1124 Biomaterials (2 cr)
Total – 19 Credits

Spring Semester
DENT 1114 Pathology, Pharmacology, Law & Emergencies (3 cr)
DENT 1123* Dental Clinic II (9 cr)
DENT 1129* Dental Radiology II (2 cr)
DENT 1132* Dental Specialties (2 cr)
DENT 1133* Principles of Practice Management & Communcation (2 cr)
Total – 18 Credits

Summer Session
DENT 1150* Dental Internship (336 hours) (7 cr)
Total – 7 Credits

*Denotes Prerequisites

**BIOL 1404 Human Biology (3 credits), or BIOL 2467 Anatomy and Physiology I and BIOL 2468 Anatomy and Physiology II (4 credits each) may be substituted for DENT 1108 General Anatomy.

Detailed Program Information

Career Description: Given the increasing demands for dental care, dental practices are designed for a dental team approved for the delivery of dental care. An exciting and challenging career awaits you as a professional dental assistant. A career in dental assisting offers variety, job satisfaction, opportunity for service, and financial reward.

Program Information: The Dental Assisting Program is designed to educate students on ways to control and prevent dental disease as well as teach patients preventive dental care. Training is provided in chairside skills and MN State expanded functions. There are three semesters. Fall and Spring are on-campus and the nine-week Summer session provides internships off-campus in dental facilities and private dental practices. This education prepares the student to take national and state written examinations required for certification and registration as a dental assistant. A certified registered dental assistant becomes a member of the dental team.

Special Program Requirements:

  • The curriculum in the dental assisting program may expose students to hazardous materials, radiation and/or infectious diseases. Students will be provided with information through education and program policies to protect themselves and their patients from harm. Students will be expected to utilize appropriate safety precautions in the classroom, laboratory and clinic. Program policies are available upon request.
  • Minnesota Board of Dentistry will only accept American Heart Association Health Care Provider CPR or American Red Cross Professionals Rescuer CPR. CPR must remain current while enrolled through August of the graduating year. 8 hours of dental clinical observation must be completed by October 1st.
  • Accuplacer Reading score of 56 or equivalent prerequisites are required for admission into the program.
  • All applications for initial license to the Minnesota Board of Dentistry that are received on or after May 1, 2015 will require a criminal background check.
  • In addition, students must meet the following conditions in order to graduate:
    • College Cumulative GPA Requirement: The cumulative grade point average (GPA) of credits attempted and completed at CLC must be at least 2.0;
    • College Technical Core GPA Requirement: The cumulative GPA of credits in the technical core or degree must be at least 2.0; and
    • Residency Requirement: students must complete 25% of their credits at Central Lakes College.

Accreditation: Accredited by the American Dental Association since May 1967.

Admissions: Accuplacer Reading score of 56 or equivalent prerequisites are required for admission into the program. Progression through the program is sequential. Admission date is Fall semester. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.

Career Opportunities: The career outlook for certified and registered dental assistants in Minnesota continues to grow due to the increased demand for dental care. The majority of graduates are employed as clinical assistants, and Minnesota requires specialized credentials as an employment criteria. There is a great deal of stability and employment security for individuals who become dental assistants.

Career Titles: This program will help students prepare for a wide range of dental assisting careers including chairside dental assistant in general/specialty practices, expanded-functions dental assistant, administrative business assistant, dental sales personnel, sterilization assistant, and dental insurance personnel.


Program Outcomes

Program Outcomes:
Graduates will be able to:

  • Perform chair side procedures in a clinical setting;
  • Apply infection control, biohazards and treatment area practices;
  • Perform dental office procedures;
  • Perform radiographic and radiation safety procedures;
  • Communicate professionally with patients, peers, and members of the dental health team; and
  • Model professionalism through continuing education and membership in the American Dental Assistants Association.

Transfer Opportunities

Transfer Opportunities: Some courses within the program may be used as elective credits toward an A.A. degree.


julieJulie Morgan
Julie attained her dental assistant credentials from Minnesota State Community and Technical College and her BS degree in Career and Technical Education from Bemidji State University. In 2004, Julie achieved credentials as a Restorative Functions Dental Assistant in the state of Minnesota. Julie worked in the specialty areas of dentistry; periodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery and endodontics. Julie serves on the Minnesota Educators of Dental Assistants and several committees at Central Lakes College. Email Julie for more information

leannLe Ann Schoenle
Le Ann Schoenle is a Dental Assisting Instructor at Central Lakes College and was the Program Director from Fall of 1975 through the Fall of 2012. Le Ann retired in Jan 2013 and is currently teaching as a part time instructor. Dental Assisting courses that Le Ann teaches include Dental Radiology I, General Anatomy, Head and Neck Anatomy, Dental Orientation and Dental Clinic I, Pathology, Pharmacology, Dental Emergencies, Dental Law, Dental Clinic II and Radiology II. Le Ann attained her dental assistant credentials from Normandale Community College and her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational and Career Education from Bemidji State University. Le Ann is credentialed as a Licensed, Certified, and Restorative Functions Dental Assistant in the State of MN. Le Ann serves on the Minnesota Educators of Dental Assistants and several committees at Central Lakes College. Email Le Ann for more information

Student Testimonials

Pillager, MN
Licensed Dental Assistant, CLC Dental Assisting Grad 2013
A great career in a year! After working a number of jobs throughout my life, I decided to go back to school at CLC. I can honestly say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The instructors were great, the program was fun, and I love my job.

Brainerd, MN
Dental Assisting Grad 2013
The Dental Assisting program at Central Lakes College is the best way to start your career in the dental field! There is just enough classroom time to learn the basics, and then a large amount of hands on training that is invaluable when starting out in your new career as a Licensed Dental Assistant! The instructors really care about you and your success. In this program, you really aren’t just another student. The education you receive from this program allows you to confidently start in your new position in life!

Current Student
I chose Central Lakes College Dental Assisting program over many other similar school programs because I felt it was the right choice for me! It was close to home and was a small school that was easy to get used to. I have looked at many other schools all over Minnesota, but they all had the excessive drive to put in. CLC dental assisting program is a fast track program. The program is only 11 month where many other schools are 16-18 months. The cost was far less than other tech schools. The teachers want you to exceed in what you are performing. They make it their job to make you succeed and not just give you homework. I have come to love CLC because of the atmosphere, staff, and opportunities available to me as a student. The program is about 80% hands-on and we were working in the lab the second week of class. Sometimes become very stressful, but in the end you’ll will be happy with your decision. I have not been to any other colleges, but I would definitely always keep CLC in mind! If you want a school that really focuses in you getting your degree and finishing in a timely manner CLC is the place to be!

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:

Gainful Employment – Dental Assistant Diploma