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What is a Dental Assistant?

A dental assistant is an individual that is trained to assist a dentist in the day-to-day operation of a dental practice.  Common duties of a dental assistant include patient intake, office work, surgery assistance, infection control, recordkeeping, scheduling appointments, and other requisite operational tasks.  Assistants are responsible for the preparation and cleanup of facilities prior to and after dental procedures.

The role of a dental assistant and the specific duties required will vary by dental practice and state.  Dental assistants in a large corporation will typically be specialists focusing on a few tasks.  On the other hand, dental assistants perform a wide array of job duties in a smaller dental practice across a typical dental work environment.

Dental assistants may be limited to job duties as prescribed by state regulation.  As such, you may be required to have additional education or certification as required by your state dental board to practice as an orthodontic assistant, dental therapist, or registered dental assistant.

Career Summary







Degree Median Salary vs Adjacent Degree Types

Source: BLS, US Census, and IPEDS

2021 Best Dental Assistant Schools

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill or "Carolina") is just one of 16 public universities in North Carolina.  It is located in the charming college town of Chapel Hill.  One of the most highly regarded institutions of higher education in the United States, "Carolina" ranks high for its academic quality, affordability, diversity, social engagement and international presence.

Consistently ranking among the top five or six U.S. universities for the quality of its research programs, research faculty at "Carolina" consistently attract strong funding for their work. Faculty garnered more than $800 million in research contracts and grant funding in 2010.

Many undergraduate and graduate programs at UNC-Chapel Hill receive high marks. Receiving particularly high marks are the school's city and regional planning programs, MBA, healthcare management and nursing programs, and its School of Public Health, School of Medicine, School of Education and School of Law.  UNC-Chapel Hill is also noted for its excellent creative arts programs, producing many great visual artists, actors, dancers, musicians and writers over the years.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was chartered the same year that George Washington was inaugurated as president (1789), and first opened its doors to students in 1795.  It was the nation's first public university, and also the only one to award degrees in the 18th century.


The UNC-Chapel Hill's academic calendar follows the semester format, with fall and spring semesters and a summer session.

Colleges, Schools and Centers

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Education
  • Eshelman School of Pharmacy
  • Friday Center for Continuing Education
  • General College
  • Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Graduate School
  • Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • School of Government
  • School of Information & Library Science
  • School of Journalism & Mass Communication
  • School of Law
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Social Work
  • Summer School

Student Life

Students at Carolina can get involved in the more than 600 student groups, clubs and organizations available that focus on politics, the arts, public service, recreation, academics, research, and much more. The university magazine and online blog, Blue & White, is one of many ways for Carolina students to connect. There are also numerous journals and other media outlets available on campus to help students keep up with the news or become involved.  Many cultural events and performances are available on campus year round.  Campus recreation includes fitness classes, intramural sports and many adventure trips.

Campus housing is available, along with numerous on-campus dining options.  Student health services are available, as are academic services, and many other resources that are accessible via MyUNC.


The mascot of Carolina's "Tar Heels" is the ram. The white ram's antlers are traditionally painted light blue to represent the university's colors of white and light blue.


UNC-Chapel Hill's athletic program produces some of the top college athletes in the country, and the Carolina "Tar Heels" men and women's teams compete in 28 sports.

Men's Sports:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Wrestling

Women's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball

Community Life

Chapel Hill is situated in the rolling, wooded hills of North Carolina.  It is located three hours from the Blue Ridge Mountains and equidistance from the Atlantic coast.  Chapel Hill is one of three points in The Research Triangle, an area that is noteworthy for being a top location to live, do business and conduct scientific research. The other two "points" in the "triangle" are the cities of Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina.  The area is considered by many publications to be one of the best places to live in America.

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New York University's main campus is located in Greenwich Village. It is a private, non-sectarian, research university and the largest non-profit institution of higher learning in the US. Study abroad facilities are located in a wide variety of countries around the globe. New sites are planned for Abu Dhabi in 2010 and Washington DC in 2012.


New York University was established on April 18, 1831 by bankers, merchants and traders in order to provide young men with a higher education. They were to be admitted on merit alone, with no focus on social status or birthright.

On April 12, 1831, the New York State Legislature gave the school its charter and it was incorporated as the University of the City of New York. The name was changed to New York University in 1896 by popular demand. The first students were welcomed in 1832 and attended classes in rented rooms of Clinton Hall.


New York University is ranked 22nd of the world's top universities by the Global University Ranking. It is made up of 16 colleges, institutions and schools. When the university was founded, the only school was the College of Arts and Science.

Undergraduate schools include:

  • Education of Human Development
  • Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • School of Social Work
  • Stunhardt School of Culture
  • Polytechnic Institute of New York University
  • Stern School of Business
  • Tisch School of Arts

Postgraduate schools include:

  • Institute of Fine Arts
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Dentistry
  • Institute of Study of the Ancient World
  • School of Law
  • Courant School of Mathematical Sciences
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Continuing and Professional Studies
  • Graduate School of Arts and Science
  • Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

New York University is the only private university in the US with two medical schools, as it also awards the degrees for Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


New York State University's buildings are situated on approximately 229 acres between 14th Street in the north, Broadway on the east, Avenue of the Americas to the west and Houston Street to the south. Washington Square Park is the core of New York University's buildings and has been since 1970. The Washington Square Arch is the unofficial symbol of the University.

During the 1990s, New York University became a double square university when a second community was established around Union Square. Other campuses and facilities include but are not limited to:

  • Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • New York University Medical Center
  • Belleview Hospital Center


New York University's sports teams are known as the Violets. Their colors are violet and white. Dictated by geography and history, Columbia University are their rival. The University's team mascot is the bobcat. Most of New York University's sport teams participate in the University Athletic Association and the NCAA's Division III.

Student Life

The governing student body at New York University is the Student Senators Council. The University has more than 350 clubs and organizations for students on campus. These include fraternities, sororities, sports teams and those that focus on arts, culture and entertainment.

New York University first formed a Greek community in 1837. Greek  life at New York University is governed by four boards.

Community Life

New York is known as The City That Never Sleeps and there is much to see and do. Take in a festival, enjoy nightlife, enjoy a Broadway show or visit Rockefeller Center or Central Park.

There are an abundance of free venues, such as Central Park Stage, Brooklyn Museum, BB King Blues Club and Grill, Studio Museum of Harlem, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum. Be sure to check times for free admission and also check out other free venues. There's something for everyone in New York City.

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Rutgers University is the state university of New Jersey.  It is considered one of the top research universities in the nation with a history of scientific innovation. Based on its faculty's productivity, such as number of books published, grants awarded and cited articles, Rutgers is ranked quite high among other U.S. universities. It is ranked second in mathematics education, third in Italian Language and Literature, third in Women's and Gender Studies, and fifth in Global Affairs and Atmospheric Science.

Rutgers provides degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels, as well as continuing education for professional and personal advancement. Rutgers offers a variety of educational program options from elementary school students to state policymakers.  Many working professionals or busy parents can benefit from the flexibility offered by Rutgers' online courses, satellite campuses, certificate programs, professional education and lifelong learning programs.


Rutgers University is the nation's eighth oldest institution of higher learning and has a very rich history of innovation and leadership.  Rutgers boasts many renowned alumni that include award-winning scientists, authors, astronauts, actors, military officers, members of U.S. Congress, athletes and a vice president of the United States.

Rutgers was chartered nearly 245 years ago as Queen's College, a Dutch Reformed college created to train church clergy and also provide general education.  In 1825, Queen's College was renamed Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, a hero of the revolutionary war.


At Rutgers University, students and lifelong learners can choose from diverse degree and study programs at campuses in New Brunswick, Newark and Camden.  Students can fulfill major requirements toward a degree or elect to learn about a subject of interest.  Classes are available during the days or evenings, depending on the program and location.

Rutgers University's academic calendar follows the semester system, with a fall and spring semester as well as a summer session.

Colleges / Schools

There are 27 schools and colleges on three campuses at Rutgers University, offering comprehensive degree programs at all levels as well as professional and continuing studies.

New Brunswick Campus:

School of Arts and Sciences

School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy

Mason Gross School of the Arts

Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick

School of Communication and Information

School of Engineering

School of Management and Labor Relations

School of Social Work

College of Nursing

Graduate School - New Brunswick

Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology

Graduate School of Education

Newark Campus:

Newark College of Arts and Sciences

University College - Newark

College of Nursing

Graduate School - Newark

Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick

School of Criminal Justice

School of Law - Newark

School of Public Affairs and Administration

Camden Campus:

Camden College of Arts and Sciences

University College - Camden

School of Business - Camden

Graduate School - Camden

School of Law - Camden

Student Life

Rutgers University holds an annual "Fall Involvement Fair" on its Voorhees Mall where students can learn about all the clubs and activities available to them at the university.  So numerous are the student organizations and clubs at Rutgers that they are broken down into categories: academic, cultural, media/publications, performing arts, and social and political act

Students new to campus can join one of many orientation programs to learn about the university, college life and all the activities available.  There are six different student centers at Rutgers-New Brunswick, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a climbing well, roller hockey rink and sports facilities. 

Fraternities and Sororities

Greek life is a longstanding tradition at Rutgers University, where the first Greek letter fraternities, Delta Phi and Zeta Psi were founded in 1845. Fraternities at that time were considered subversive and forbidden by the faculty, so they continued as secret societies.

Today the fraternities and sororities at Rutgers are out in the open and there is a thriving Greek community with more than 70 fraternities and sororities on its campuses.

There are "traditional" fraternities and sororities as well as those that are historically African-American, Latino/a, Asian-interest and more.  Different chapters hold annual events that range from formal dances to social mixers and barbecues.


There are many traditional school songs at Rutgers, dating back to 1873.  "The Rutgers History Lesson" provides an overview of the rich history of the university, as well as its Dutch heritage and participation in the American Revolutionary War.

The 1947 screen musical, "High Button Shoes," was set in New Brunswick, New Jersey and featured the school's song titled "Nobody Ever Died for Dear Old Rutgers."

"On the Banks of the Old Raritan" the Rutgers Alma Mater was created in 1847 and was first performed by the Rutgers Glee Club.

When cheering on a Rutgers athletics team, the fans in the stands will shout the traditional Rutgers cheer of "RU, rah, rah!"


The Rutgers Scarlet Knights boast a winning football team that is the only NCAA Division I football team in the Greater New Jersey/New York area.  The football team also scores well in its academic progress.  There are many strong collegiate sports at Rutgers including women's basketball, men's baseball, soccer, wrestling, lacrosse and volleyball, among others.

In addition to its many varsity athletics, Rutgers offers numerous intramural sports leagues throughout the year.  More information on all Rutgers athletics can be found at

Satellite Campuses

Rutgers University is made up of three campuses: Rutgers-New Brunswick, Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden.  The Rutgers-New Brunswick campus is actually made up of five campuses: Busch Campus, George H. Cook Campus, College Avenue Campus and Douglass Campus.

Community Life

The New Brunswick campus of Rutgers University has ivy covered buildings and the wide, open lawns of a historical university that dates back to 1766. The Rutgers-New Brunswick campus is situated in a lively urban area that has many art galleries, theatres and cafes, as well as nearby hiking trails, a golf course and the Rutgers Stadium.

There are many residential communities and living options on the Rutgers campuses.  A women-only residential hall is offered on Douglass Campus.  Other options include a science and engineering hall that also offers skills development programs.  There is a house for adult students who are either returning to college or entering college more than five years after finishing high school.

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Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology (CPI), located in Pleasant Gap, PA, is a great vocational training opportunity for high school students and adults looking to further their education and careers. CPI hopes to produce highly competent individuals who are prepared and motivated to pursue the high skill careers of the 21st century. CPI is an accredited institution by the Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Education. 

CPI has 19 different programs offered to high school students. These programs include cosmetology, culinary arts, and welding and metal fabrication technology.  High school students that take advantage of these programs will finish with certifications and training either while still in high school or shortly after. 

CPI also has a great adult education program. They offer full-time programs geared around helping adults progress to a career by giving them the certifications and training they need to be successful. CPI offers the following adult education career programs:

  • Transportation/Automotive
  • Welding
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Computers/Information Technology
  • HVAC/R
  • Food Service

Tuition for these programs varies based on the length of the program and any required materials. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. CPI also offers a great online program. Their online program offers a wide variety of classes, including accounting and finance as well as writing and publishing. 

CPI offers great career placement services. They offer on-campus recruiting, job fairs, externships, mock interviews, resume classes, and cooperative education.

CPI is a vocational school geared toward helping high school students as well as adults reach their goals faster and more efficiently. 

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$15,340 / year

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Mercer County Technical Education Center (MCTEC) is located at 1397 Stafford Drive, Princeton West Virginia; with a mission to provide technical education to prepare all students for a 21st Century career and/or postsecondary education. At MCTEC adults can learn and acquire skills that would enhance their chances for a better life after school. MCTEC is accredited by several agencies; some of these are: Mercer County Board of Education, and West Virginia State Board of Education, among others. The Education, Business, and Industry Seminar Center provide local businesses with programs tailored to meet their training needs. Mercer County Technical Education Center offers classes and programs in:

  • Agribusiness Systems Technology
  • Automotive Technology
  • Careers in Education
  • Carpentry
  • Collision Repair Technology
  • Computer Systems Repair Technology
  • Cosmetology
  • Dental Assisting – Allied Health Sciences
  • Drafting
  • Electrical Technology
  • Graphic Design
  • Health Occupations – Therapeutic Services
  • Machine Tool Technology
  • Masonry
  • Licensed Practical Nursing
  • Pre-Engineering/Project Lead the Way
  • Project STRIVE & LIFE Wellness
  • Marketing Management: Sports, Entertainment & Recreation
  • Welding
Financial assistance is available to those students who qualify.  The primary source of financial aid at MCTEC is the Federal Pell Grant. Tuition is calculated based on payment period, thus:
  • 1080 hour programs – 2 (450 hour) payment period
  • 1310 hour program – 2 (450 hour) payment period
  • 2000 hour program – 4 (450 hour) payment period

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$5,517 / year

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Acceptance Rate



$15,955 / year

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International Business College - Indianapolis is a two year private school dedicated to offering a practical education for students in Indianapolis and surrounding areas. Students may choose from several areas of study, including:

  • Health and Clinical Professions
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Business and Marketing Studies
  • Legal Professions and Studies

Over the previous several years International Business College - Indianapolis awarded degrees to over 650 students with a graduation rate of around 69%. More than ten different programs are offered at International Business College location in Indianapolis, and it awards degrees up to an Associates degree. Here are the more popular programs offered:

  • Veterinary Assistant
  • Dental Assistant
  • Graphic Design
  • Medical Assistant
  • Hotel and Hospitality Management

To help support students, International Business College - Indianapolis may offer services like:

  • Career path counseling
  • Employing students to lower education costs
  • Employment search assistance

International Business College - Indianapolis has been accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools since 1988. To see more and get consumer disclosures, you can visit

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Concorde Career Colleges, Inc. owns and operates proprietary, postsecondary institutions that offer vocational career training programs in the growing healthcare field. Concorde serves the segment of population seeking career-oriented education. We currently operate campuses at 15 locations in seven states. Concorde's campuses generally enjoy long operating histories in their local markets.

Concorde was formed in 1988 as a Delaware corporation. Our principal office is located at 5800 Foxridge Drive, Suite 500, Mission, Kansas 66202 (telephone: (913) 831-9977).

Concorde's 15 campuses are located in Garden Grove, North Hollywood, San Bernardino, and San Diego, California; Aurora, Colorado; Jacksonville, Miramar, Orlando, and Tampa, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; Memphis, Tennessee; and Arlington, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas.

Concorde's programs of study are intended to provide students with the knowledge and job skills for positions in their chosen career field. The programs are Vocational Nurse/Nursing, Practical Nursing, Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Surgical Technology/Technologist, Pharmacy Technician, Radiologic Technology, Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Office Professional, Medical Assistant/Assisting, Dental Assistant/Assisting, Patient Care Technician, Dental Hygiene, Medical Office Administration, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Massage Therapy. Program offerings vary by campus. The Aurora, Kansas City, North Hollywood, Garden Grove, San Bernardino, San Diego, Portland, Memphis, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miramar campuses offer selected associates degree programs. Campuses utilize different program titles pursuant to state regulations.

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$31,866 / year

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Midwest Institute operates as a private career school dedicated to offering a solid education for students in Fenton and surrounding areas. Over the past several years Midwest Institute has awarded degrees to over 330 students with a graduation rate of about 80%. Midwest Institute offers several programs to choose from. The more popular enrolled programs are shown below:

To help support students, Midwest Institute may provide student services like those listed below:
  • Weekend and night classes available
  • Career path counseling
  • Helping students find work after graduation
The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools has accredited the program courses of Midwest Institute for over sixteen straight years. To learn more and get consumer disclosures, please visit

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$14,680 / year

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$35,469 / year

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Acceptance Rate



$16,010 / year

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Concorde Career College has fifteen campuses in seven states. The school is dedicated to providing a quality career education through its 23 program offerings in the field of allied health. Concorde Career College has been providing health care education for over forty years with the goal of preparing individuals as professionals in the field that they choose.


Concorde Career College offers 23 programs of study to prepare students for entry level positions in allied health care. The school combines classroom education with practical training to ensure individuals have the skill and experience to begin working immediately after graduation. The school further assists students through their career placement program after graduation.

Programs offered include:

  • Dental Assistant – Diploma
  • Medical Assistant – Diploma
  • Medical Office Administration – Diploma
  • Polysomnographic Technology – Diploma
  • Practical Nursing – Diploma
  • Respiratory Therapy – Associate
  • Surgical Technology – Associate

Admissions and Financial Aid

Financial aid is only available for those who qualify. Students interesting in enrolling at Concorde Career College may begin by completing the online application available on the website. Once completed, the student will shortly thereafter be contacted by a school representative to assist in the process. Financial aid is available through various federal programs. Students will be assisted by financial aid specialists to help determine eligibility and determine payment methods.

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$16,516 / year

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$32,883 / year

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$17,701 / year

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$16,875 / year

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$50,048 / year

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University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public college that has a large selection of majors and degree programs available for students to choose from. The school is located in Birmingham, Alabama, in a predominantly urban area. Enrollment at UAB is nearly 18,000 per year.

Areas of study available at UAB include:

  • Health And Clinical Professions
  • Biological And Biomedical Sciences
  • Business And Marketing Studies
  • Psychology
  • Communications And Journalism

To be considered for admissions, applicants may be required to fill out an application, write a personal statement, and submit any transcripts or test scores, which are then evaluated by the admissions staff. Students may provide either the ACT or SAT exam scores to be considered for admissions to UAB. A score in a range of 1000 to 1270 on the SAT, or 21 to 27 for the ACT is common among accepted students. 72% of those who apply are accepted to UAB, of which 40 percent choose to attend. More information regarding admissions can be found here.

Tuition & fees at UAB are different for in-state and out-of-state residents. In-state tuition costs around $6,900 per year, while out-of-state tuition costing $16,000 per year. School housing is available on-campus for students. The yearly cost of housing is around $5,900. This school may offer financial aid for students who qualify by way of grants and loans.

The mascot for University of Alabama at Birmingham is the "Blazers", and they participate in intercollegiate athletic programs through oversight by the NCAA. Athletic programs available include:

  • Baseball (NCAA Division I-A)
  • Basketball (NCAA Division I-A)
  • Track & Field (NCAA Division I-A)

Contact information, admission forms, programs, and much more may be viewed on school's website at

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$17,005 / year

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$30,888 / year

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Acceptance Rate



$15,840 / year

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$16,395 / year

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Acceptance Rate



$43,552 / year

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Acceptance Rate



$16,805 / year

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Herzing University, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been offering computer and technical training since 1965. The school has since expanded its offerings to include programs in business and allied health. The school began expanding its campuses, with locations currently available in eight states. Alongside the physical expansion, the school upped its offerings from diplomas to associate, bachelor at physical campuses and master degrees through the online campus.


Herzing University offers a large number of undergraduate and graduate programs in growing industries.  The move away from diplomas to actual degrees means that the school provides general education courses alongside required courses. The program offerings are placed in one of five categories: Healthcare, Business, Public Safety, Design and Technology.

Programs offered at Herzing University include:

Admissions and Financial Aid

Students interested in enrollment at Herzing University can apply online or in person. Either way, students must make an appointment for an interview, where an admissions officer will review the application and review one's aptitude and placement. Financial Aid is available through a variety of means, including federal loans and grants, veteran's benefits, institutional grants and others. Students interested in receiving financial aid must obtain a federal PIN number and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After the FAFSA has been submitted a student aid report will be provided which will be used to determine financial aid eligibility and awards.

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Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indiana's top urban university, is considered by U.S. News and World Report to be one of the top five "up and coming" universities in America.  IUPUI has top-ranked programs in public and environmental affairs, law, nursing and health.

IUPUI offers 200 different degree programs from both Indiana and Purdue universities.  It boasts 21 schools and, since it is located near downtown Indianapolis, offers many opportunities for civic involvement, internships, business and research partnerships, and more.

Known predominantly through the years as a research and health sciences university, IUPUI has expanded to include many innovative and interdisciplinary programs.  Its mission statement promises to deliver the following to its constituents:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

With each of these core activities characterized by:

  • Collaboration within and across disciplines and with the community
  • A commitment to ensuring diversity, and
  • Pursuit of best practices


Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis was founded in 1969 as a partnership between two universities: Indiana University and Purdue University.  The partnership was formed in order to combine all the various schools of both universities together, in one location. 2005 marked the year when all the IUPUI schools had moved to one campus in Indianapolis, the IUPUI campus, a few short blocks from the Indiana State Capitol.


The IUPUI academic calendar follows the semester system, with fall, spring and summer sessions.

Colleges and Schools

IUPUI has 21 schools, with many departments in each, offering 200 academic degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.  Many professional certificates are also offered.

  • IU Herron School of Art and Design
  • IU Kelley School of Business
  • IU School of Continuing Studies
  • IU Graduate School
  • IU School of Dentistry
  • IU School of Education
  • Purdue School of Engineering and Technology
  • IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • IUPUI Honors College
  • IU School of Informatics
  • IU School of Journalism
  • IU School of Law
  • IU School of Liberal Arts
  • IU School of Library and Information Science
  • IU School of Medicine
  • IU School of Nursing
  • IU School of Physical Education and Tourism Management
  • IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Purdue School of Science
  • IU School of Social Work
  • IUPUI University College

Student Life

The Office of Student Involvement, true to its name, encourages students to become involved in one of the many student clubs or organizations available on campus.  IUPUI promotes the idea that each student should find his/her niche in the campus community to enrich the educational experience.  To that end, there are many fraternities and sororities available to students, as well as many intramural sports leagues, and more.


The IUPUI "Jaguars" athletics teams compete in several intercollegiate sports, including:

Men's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis

Women's Sports:

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming & Diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Community Life

IUPUI is dedicated to its many programs involving students in civic engagement, and it has been recognized for its commitment to these efforts.  The IUPUI Center for Service and Learning offers many programs for community involvement that include volunteering with non-profit agencies, participation in a service learning course, voluntary work for political campaigns, employment in community work-study positions, and more.

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What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

Dental assistants are a vital part of any well-functioning dental team. Dental assistants are both customer-facing and administrative by design. Much like a dental hygienist, a dental assistant can be found working closely with patients to provide exceptional customer service and support.

Unlike a dental hygienist, a dental assistant will perform many job functions behind the scenes. From patient charting to sterilizing medical equipment, dental assistant jobs can have a broad array of responsibilities day over day to ensure their dental office is well organized and running smoothly.

Top Dental Assistant Schools

A certified dental assistant must attend an accredited dental college prior to pursuing a dental career in a licensed practice capacity. Generally, dental assistants will need to hold a high school diploma or equivalent in addition to higher education requirements. Typical college requirements include graduating from an accredited postsecondary institution with a certificate or degree mandated by your state.

In addition, you will need to successfully pass state-specific dental examinations prior to employment in the field. Dental assistant training programs can be offered by a number of community colleges, vocational schools, career colleges, and dental assistant specialty schools.

Vocational School or Technical Institute As a rule of thumb, a vocational school or technical institute is a school that targets skill development making work-readiness a top priority. Most vocational school programs result in dental assistants earning a certificate after completing the requisite coursework. Upon certificate completion, a dental assistant student will often work in a dental clinic or a dental office.

Community College A community college commonly offers 2-year programs focused on providing students with an associate degree. Students enrolled in a dental assistant program at a community college will be exposed to a number of general education classes along with dentistry courses to best support the evolving dental field. General electives at a community college will typically include math, creative writing, and philosophy. As such, dental assistants will be exposed to various courses and ways of thinking.

Dental Specialty School A specialty dental school is an industry specific type of school that provide the backbone of classes required by dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental lab assistants. Certificate programs in dental assisting generally offer more science-rich classes than a community college. Dental schools are known to provide dental operations, health care, and research curriculum to students. Targeted courses are created to help prepare students for vibrant careers in the dental field upon graduation.

Dental Assistant Requirements

A degree in dental assisting qualifies an individual to aid dentists in their daily operations, including administrative work, manipulating new technology, equipment sterilization, gathering materials, and acquisition of patient history and information. Certificate, diploma and associate's degrees are available to those wishing to pursue an education leading to a dental assisting job.

Students who wish to enroll in such a program will become familiarized with a dental setting, including daily operations, operation assistance, terminology, and excellent customer service. Individuals will work along with dentists to ensure that patient care is properly delivered and will also be educated in the process of taking patient histories and the retrieval of past information and documents.

Participants of certificate or diploma program will normally finish their program with a year. DA's in associate programs will generally have two years of study prior to completion due to the addition of general education courses in the curriculum.

Dental assisting programs resulting in an associate degree are slightly less common than diploma or certificate programs and generally found at community colleges.  The dental assisting program has increased in popularity due to increased demand and public awareness of oral health management.

Dental Assistant Classes in College

The number and type of dental assisting courses you will take in college will vary from university to university.  However, you will typically encounter a series of core classes across the majority of higher education institutions.  Classes you may encounter in a dental assisting program will typically include courses such as:

  • Dental Radiology
  • Human Relations
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Preventive Dentistry
  • Emergency Management
  • Dental Procedures
  • Dental Office Management

Which Dental Assistant School is Right for Me?

Figuring out which dental assistant program is right for you is a direct correlation to your priorities and your career aspirations. There are a handful of guiding factors you will need to consider during your college match journey regardless of proximity, cost, or geography which include accreditation, timing, program specialization, and curriculum.

Accreditation If you are intent on bolstering your career through education, we recommend enrolling in an accredited higher education institution. Colleges and universities holding regional and national accreditation are key to your success. They have been vetted by third-parties and are schools equipped to prepare students for state licensing exams and professional work in the dental field.

When researching dental assistant programs, seek schools with a CODA (The Commission on Dental Accreditation) affiliation. A CODA accreditation will generally ensure top-tier schooling experiences for your investment. They have also been proven to provide students with the highest probability of finding work in the dental field upon program completion.

Program Path You will be best served if you know your goals in advance. Meaning if you are seeking a well-rounded educational experience as you move towards a dental assistant degree, a community college may be a great fit. If , however, your ultimate goal is to move from school directly into the workforce on an abbreviated schedule, a college offering an accelerated dental assisting degree could be a great choice.

Specialization It will come as no surprise that not all dental assistant degree programs are created equal. In addition to the different types of schools such as community colleges, vocational schools, and dental schools, you should apply to programs offering the specific career path of interest to you.

In other words, if your goal is to teach or perform research in the dental field after graduation, it is incumbent upon you to enroll in an accredited program that emphasizes that specialty.

Curriculum Within the constructs of a CODA accredited school, the range of programming can vary from school to school. It would be in your best interest to align yourself with programs with a history of quality clinical experiences for students. Put another way, an accredited school with a community partnership with dental offices or an on-site dental office is an indication the school values the clinical experiences for dental students.

How to Become a Dental Assistant

Admission requirements for CODA accredited colleges and dental schools will generally have similar requirements for incoming students regardless of geographic location. The program requirements you should be prepared for regardless of the institution type or location will include:

  • Application The details provided on your dental assistant college application will include personal information, socioeconomic information, and a personal statement. Be prepared to invest both time and money to craft an acceptance-worthy application to any college or dental school.
  • DAT The Dental Admissions Test or DAT is required by a number of high-level dental schools. A DAT exam is administered by CODA to provide colleges with an applicant's probability of success after school. Additional information about DAT exams can be found via the ADA portal.
  • Transcripts Your transcripts are yet another part of the equation for any higher education institution. In real terms, your transcripts are the factual, data-driven component of your college application. Transcripts reveal to admissions officers how you performed in previous classes which are used as an indication of your future success.
  • Experience Employers and colleges will generally require more knowledge, skills, and experience with higher-level degree paths. More specifically, the work experience and classroom requirements for an Associate's degree program will be greater than the criteria for a diploma program in dental assisting.
  • Letters of Recommendation A letter of recommendation from professors, teachers, and former managers is a must for most college admissions. These written testimonials speak to your work ethic, communication skills, character, and competencies. Letters of recommendation are weighted and considered with a student's application.

Top Dental Assistant Degrees

The 2 primary paths for dental assistants include a certificate program or diploma program.  Keep in mind there will be some variation from school to school in terms of timing, cost, curriculum, program focus, and teaching methodology so make sure to research schools early and thoroughly.  For those seeking to enter the dental assistant field, the tracks below could be worth further consideration.

Dental Assistant Diploma Programs

A diploma program for a dental assistant is geared to provide students with the basics of the job.  Diploma programs are typically a one year program regardless of the institution type.  Curriculum is structured to help students understand the basics of teeth, jaws, gums, oral health, and dental instrumentation.  The diploma program in most CODA accredited institutions fuse classroom time with lab work to get the best from the knowledge acquisition process.

Dental Assistant Certificate Programs

Much like a diploma program, a dental assistant certification will cover oral health care and basic dental instrumentation.  However, certificate programs often are structured to take 1-2 years to complete with the longer courses intended to lead students to an associate’s degree.

The dental assistant certification track will generally encompass additional classes not found in a diploma program.  Additional classes may include core curriculum in chemistry, biology, anatomy, and administrative courses.  More and more states require extra coursework and training to become proficient with radiographic equipment (x-ray) and specialties such as coronal polishing. Consult your local dentistry board for further information on state-specific requirements.

Online Dental Assistant Programs

Online dental assistant programs that lead to a certificate have been rapidly growing in popularity and quality.  As these programs gain traction in the marketplace, make sure to find top dental schools that have a CODA accreditation.  Upon program completion, students with sufficient work experience are often granted a Certificate in Dental Assisting (CDA).

Before you consider applying to an online dental assistant program, take the time to perform an inventory analysis of your communication style, motivation, and learning style.  Distance learning classes offer dental assistant flexibility to engage in school while not being bound to a classroom.

Online Dental Assistant Resources

For deeper analysis of online dental schools and distance learning, we have culled a list of important articles below.  Additional research will yield a greater understanding of online courses and dental degrees to help you make a great decision.

Career as a Dental Assistant

Though it is not necessary to have a degree or diploma to obtain work, the tasks and increasing responsibilities of dental assistants has created a demand for skilled/trained individuals. Job growth for dental assistants is expected to increase over the next few years at large institutions such as Willamette Dental, Coast Dental, Aspen Dental and various independent offices.

Most states do not require a license to work as a dental assistant, though the duties performed are regulated by each state. Certification may be obtained in some states to increase the duties a dental assistant may perform. Individuals interested in dental assisting should research their state's rules and regulations governing the profession, particularly if certification or licensure is required to work.

Those interested in a career in dental assisting may also be interested to learn more about health care vocations like a medical assistant, physical therapy assistant, or occupational therapist assistant.

Dental Assistant Pay & Job Growth

The dental assisting vocation is expected to grow at 18% through 2024 as the demand for preventative dental care increases. As a result of this inherent demand, dentists will hire more assistants to take on routine tasks and basic patient care, allowing dentists to see more patients and focus on more complex procedures. Additionally, the current aging population has kept more of their original teeth than those of the same age in previous generations resulting in a need for more dental care among older generations.

How Much Do Dental Assistants Make?

Dental assistant annual median pay is $36,940, with the lowest 10% earning less than $25,460. Meanwhile, the highest 10% earn more than $52,000 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Individuals with quality work experience will generally be in the upper spectrum of pay and benefit from working with the same dentist or dental group for an extended period of time. Opportunity for upward mobility in small dental practices is limited given the number of staff coupled with the flat organizational structures found at most privately held companies.

Dental Associations & Dental Career Resources

For additional information on a future in the dentistry field and gainful employment, read our comprehensive career guide on our dental career blog post.  Our acclaimed career guide in dentistry includes popular dental careers, job duties, common treatments, educational requirements, safety procedures, dental specialties, and a detailed job outlook in dentistry.  Popular careers in dentistry include dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and dental laboratory technicians.

Top Dental Assistant National & International Associations

National associations and trade groups in dental assisting can be tremendous sources of continuing education, dental assistant training, professional networking, discounts, and information.  Dental associations have been around for decades and serve a defined group of professionals in the dental field to support their professional and personal endeavors.  Top dental assisting associations in the country include the following organizations:

  1. AAP - American Academy of Periodontology
  2. AAE - American Association of Endodontists
  3. AAOMS - American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  4. AAO - American Association of Orthodontists
  5. ABPD - American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
  6. ADA - American Dental Association
  7. ACOMS - American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  8. IAO - International Association for Orthodontics
  9. IADR - International Association of Dental Research

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