Dental 4-7-16

What is Dental Assisting?

Students in the Dental Assisting program learn how to properly aid dentists and dental hygienists. During the course of the program, they will learn the proper techniques that go into every aspect of assisting in a dental office, from taking x-rays to scheduling appointments. To ensure that students are trained as accurately as possible, they practice on modern dental equipment and become familiar with tools common to the profession. Other tasks assigned in this program include learning proper sterilization, instrument transferral, infection control, and preventative healthcare techniques; and assisting with basic dental procedures. While students emerge from the Dental Assisting program fully equipped to work as a dental assistant, further education is required before the student can achieve other positions in the field.
For more information on the opportunities available through this program, please visit the "College Credits" and "Industry Certifications" links to the left and check out this video all about the Dental Assisting program:

Program Objectives 

  1. Complete PA Dept. of Ed. POS (Program of Study)
  2. Complete NOCTI Competencies
  3. Obtain Industry Certifications (PA State Radiology Health and Safety)
  4. Earn College in the High School (CHS) Credits Through HACC
  5. Industry Visit (Level 1, Klein Dental Associates)
  6. Post-Secondary Visit (Level 2, Penn Tech/HACC)
  7. Complete Internship (Level 3)

Level 1 

  • Safety/Body Mechanics/Fire Infection Control
  • Professionalism
  • Sterilization/Dental Equipment
  • The Dental Team and Profession
  • Vital Signs
  • Tooth Anatomy
  • Anasthesia
  • Patient Records
  • Dental Law and Ethics
  • Moisture Control
  • General Dentistry Procedures


  • 100s: Intro to Dental Assisting
  • 200s: Apply Principles of Infection Control
  • 300s: Safety and Emergency Procedures
  • 400s: Ethics and Legal Responsibilities
  • 500s: Anatomy and Physiology
  • 900s: Operative Dentistry

Level 2

  • Dental Caries Development
  • Preventive Dentistry
  • Peridontal Disease
  • Dental Sealants
  • Head and Neck Anatomy
  • Oral Landmarks/Tissues
  • Dental Dam
  • Dental/Lab Materials
  • Office Procedures
  • Dental Procedures


  • 500s: Anatomy and Physiology
  • 600s: Office Procedures
  • 700s: Pharmacology
  • 800s: Radiology Skills
  • 900s: Operative Dentistry
  • 1000s: Dental Materials
  • 1100s: Dental Lab Procedures

Level 3 

Certifications: First Aid, PA State Radiology Health and Safety

  • Radiology
  • Dental Specialties
  • Pharmacology


  • 300s: Safety and Emergency
  • 700s: Pharmacology
  • 800s: Radiology Skills
  • 1200s: Oral Surgery
  • 1300s: Peridontics
  • 1400s: Prosthodontics
  • 1500s: Endodontics

Internship (3-Day Minimum)

OPTION 1: PA State Radiology Health and Safety Certification

OPTION 2: Cooperative Education                                                                   

Is it for You?
Successful students in this program will typically like staying busy and interacting with others on a daily basis. Since these positions require a great deal of patient-assistant interaction, dental assistants can expect to communicate regularly, either in person or over the phone, when scheduling appointments or guiding patients who are present for appointments. Dental assistants also spend much of their time going between standing and sitting, depending on the situation, and they typically work in well-cooled and heated facilities and usually for 40 hours a week. They can also expect to do some light lifting of office supplies, dental instruments, and other similar items. Additionally, the following skills are necessary for professionals in this field:

  • Good eye and finger coordination
  • Good vision, either naturally or with correction, including good color vision
  • The ability to work in an often fast-paced environment
  • The ability to follow direction and perform tasks as needed
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Good organizational and multitasking capabilities

For more information on this program's objectives, please visit the "Task List" link to the left.


What's Next?

Potential Career Pathways

* Salaries listed are PA state averages taken from and are accurate as of 2020.

Dental Assistant ($40,290)

Expanded Functions Dental Assistant ($34,740)

Dental Laboratory Technicians ($41,340)

Dental Hygienists ($76,220)

Dental Business Manager ($33,390)

...and many more

Post-Secondary Studies

*Some employment options may require additional study.

HACC: Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Expanded Functions Dental Assisting (EFDA)

Penn College: Dental Hygiene

Harcum College: Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting w/EFDA

Manor College: Expanded Functions Dental Assisting (EFDA), Dental Hygiene