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Allied Health

Dental Assistant

Questions and Answers

top of page What do dental assistants do?

Their role is a varied one that touches every aspect of dental care. Their primary responsibility is as a chairside assistant to the dentist.  Dental assistants also coordinate the office, maintain patient records, prepare x-rays, and teach patients proper oral health.  Other duties include taking vital signs, polishing teeth, placing temporary crowns, sterilization procedures, ordering supplies, inventory management and lab work.

As a dental assistant, your role is a combination of duties—part medical technician, part receptionist, part office manager and part public relations.  Dental assistants can also work in a number of specialties such as orthodontics, oral surgery and pediatric dentistry.

top of page What is this field like?

Just as a dental assistant's tasks are varied, the field itself offers great flexibility. You can take this profession to any area of the country and find employment. If you need to take time off from your career, you can easily re-enter when you're ready to work again. Your work environment is clean and comfortable.  Holidays and weekends are your own; both part and  full-time jobs are available; and there are opportunities to further you knowledge with seminars, courses, classes and continuing education.

Dentistry has been a leader in the health field in making patients feel comfortable and promoting preventive care. It is also constantly changing with such new technologies as laser dentistry and videotaped exams.

top of page What program does Spokane Community College offer in this field?

SCC offers two options in dental assisting - a one-year certificate and a two-year associate in applied science (A.A.S.) degree. Both options include identical classes in dental assisting. However, the two-year A.A.S. degree program includes such liberal arts classes as biology, sociology, chemistry, psychology and communication.

Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination to become certified dental assistants.

top of page Why should I choose SCC?

Part of the success of SCC's dental assisting program can be attributed to the fact that students receive extensive hands-on experience and on-the-job training. Students consistently practice the theories they are learning in the classroom.

In addition to being the most affordable program of its kind in the area, the SCC dental assisting program has been fully accredited for over 20 years. It is equipped with up-to-date equipment, and the program has strong ties with the area's dental community.

top of page What classes will I take?

The dental assisting program starts fall quarter. Classes start with the basics, progress to the advanced, and must be taken in sequence. Students must pass all classes with a 2.0 grade point to continue in the program.

Students gain clinical experience during both winter and spring quarters.

top of page Where can I get a job?

The SCC dental assisting program has had a 100-percent placement rate for years. Jobs are available in Spokane as well as across our region and nation. Wherever there are dentists, there is a need for dental assistants. Employment options include dental offices, specialty offices (such as orthodontics, pediatric dentistry and oral surgery), dental supply houses, insurance companies, public health agencies and governmental agencies (including the armed services). Dental schools also hire qualified, experienced dental assistants to work with dental students.

top of page How much will I earn

The salary for dental assistants varies greatly depending upon the person's skills, his or her personality and work ethic, and the employer. Entry-level pay in Spokane ranges from $7 to $10 an hour. Those who show skill and enthusiasm for their work quickly advance in both income and responsibilities. Benefit packages often include uniform allowance, continuing education, retirement plans, and medical and dental insurance.

For more information....Additional Information
If you have general questions regarding our Allied Health programs, their entry requirements, or the admissions process, please contact the SCC Admissions Office via email ( or phone (509-533-8020 or 1-800-248-5644, ext. 8020), and one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff members will assist you.
You can also submit an online information request or get our address to write for more information.
You may be eligible for free tuition! Follow this link to learn more.

Spokane Community College
1810 N. Greene St.
Spokane, WA 99217-5399
For general information call:
509-533-7000 or
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