Apr 19, 2024  
Fall 2013 Catalog 
Fall 2013 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Assisting, Certificate

Degree: Certificate
HEGIS Code: 5202
Curriculum Code: 1353
Campus Location: North
Health Sciences Division

Career Opportunities/Further Education: Private Practice in General or Specialized Dentistry, Dental Clinics, Dental Schools, Hospital Clinics and the Military.  May continue with further education in related fields such as Dental Hygiene, Dental Laboratory Technology, Dental School and Allied Health Education leading to careers in Advanced Clinical Practice, Teaching, Research or the Dental Sales Industry.

Program Description

The New York State license-certified dental assistant is a vital member of the dental health care team. Primarily trained to assist the dentist during chair-side procedures, a licensed dental assistant may also perform a variety of supportive services under direct supervision of the dentist. In addition to clinical duties, assistants are also trained in laboratory and administrative procedures.

The Dental Assisting Certificate Program curriculum satisfies state and national requirements through coursework in biomedical sciences, dental sciences, clinical and laboratory procedures and practice administration. Dental Assisting students learn head and neck anatomy, dental instruments, equipment and procedures, manipulation of dental materials, x-ray techniques, disinfection and sterilization procedures, management of medical and dental emergencies and laboratory fabrication of dental products. Administrative coursework includes business office skills and basic computer operations, ethical and legal aspects of dentistry and communication skills. Clinical externships are provided through local dental health care facilities to gain hands-on experience under the direct supervision of licensed professionals.

Licensure and/or registration requirements vary per state and each graduate must verify the requirements for the state or province in which they will be practicing. Graduates who wish to apply for New York State licensure must successfully complete the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Radiation Health and Safety Exam, the DANB Infection Control Exam, the New York Professional Dental Assisting Exam, and current certification for BLS Healthcare Provider. Graduates are encouraged to seek national board certification, join their local, state and national dental assisting organizations, and volunteer in community dental health projects.


  • American Dental Assistants Association
  • Eighth District Dental Society
  • Erie County Dental Society
  • Western New York Dental Group

Special Admission Requirements/Prerequisites

Eligibility for the Dental Assisting Certificate Program is based upon the following criteria:

  • high school graduates with a minimum cumulative average of 88 percent;
  • college students/transfer students with a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or above;
  • transfer credits or general education credits required for the dental assisting curriculum must have a grade of “C” or above;
  • English and math placement tests must be at the EN 110 or MT 007 levels; and 
  • developmental courses indicated by placement tests must be completed prior to admission to DS courses.

Department Notes

  • Entrance into the Dental Assisting Program occurs only in the Fall semester and courses must be taken in the prescribed sequence.
  • Preference is given to applicants who have already completed EN 110 and BI 147.
  • A current physical exam and immunization report is required prior to the start of clinical externship.
  • Hepatitis B immunization is strongly recommended for the dental assisting profession.
  • Students must participate in clinical practice activities as a clinician and as a patient.
  • Students are responsible for providing transportation to off campus assignments.
  • Membership in the American Dental Assistants Association and malpractice insurance is required.
  • Students must purchase a lab coat, clinical uniforms and shoes, protective eyewear, books, and any necessary school supplies.
  • “C-” is the minimum passing grade in all required courses in the Dental Assisting curriculum.
  • Students must successfully complete all first semester courses prior to admission to the second semester.

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with a certificate in Dental Assisting, the graduate will be able to:

  • demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills;
  • exhibit sensitivity to cultural diversity and patients with special needs;
  • demonstrate a basic understanding of body structures and functions;
  • identify normal and pathological conditions of the oral cavity;
  • discuss the effects of diet and nutrition on oral health;
  • describe the characteristics of microorganisms and relationship to the disease process;
  • prevent disease transmission through proper asepsis, disinfection and sterilization;
  • follow standards and guidelines of occupational safety for dental office personnel;
  • prepare and maintain dental equipment, instruments and treatment rooms;
  • assist with the collection and recording of diagnostic data;
  • expose, process and evaluate intraoral and extraoral radiographs;
  • prepare for and assist with general dentistry and specialty procedures;
  • implement four-handed dentistry concepts during all treatment phases;
  • select, prepare and manipulate restorative dental materials;
  • respond to and assist with chair side dental and medical emergencies;
  • demonstrate basic knowledge of pharmacology as it relates to dentistry;
  • perform general laboratory procedures and prosthetic fabrications;
  • perform basic administrative duties of a dental business office assistant;
  • identify and apply concepts of risk management in professional practice; and 
  • maintain the professional and ethical standards of the ADAA Code of Ethics.


Total Degree Credits: 31.5