Dental Assisting and Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary

The educationally qualified dental assistant possesses skills and knowledge utilized in a number of areas in the dental office. The dental assistant functions as a chair side assistant working directly with the dentist, performing radiology techniques and expanded functions, rubber dam placement, and numerous laboratory procedures. The dental assistant also has the ability to manage the business office.

"The SCC dental assisting program prepared me well. My job is challenging and interesting—and I enjoy the patients. There's something different every day."

Michelle Bowman

SCC Dental Assisting graduate
Dental assistant, Lincoln Heights Dental Center

Gainful Employment Disclosures

What do Dental Assistants do? (Click to open)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Browse additional programs in the CCS Online Catalog.

If you have general questions regarding the Dental Assisting program, its entry requirements, or the admissions process, please contact the SCC Admissions Office.

If you have questions regarding biohazard waste, infection control, OSHA regulations, HIPAA, or patient safety, please contact Program Director Pat Norman at (509) 533-7301, or Pat.Norman@scc.spokane.edu.

For more information...
For more information:
SCC Admissions Office
(509) 533-8020 or
(800) 248-5644 ext. 8020
All course offerings are subject to change. The college cannot guarantee class offerings, designated times or specific instructors - as funding levels and student interest may affect whether or not an offering is available.

Click on the course title to view course description.

Course Title Credits
DENT 111Introduction to Dental Assisting 5.0
DENT 112Chairside Related Theory 4.0
DENT 114Introduction to Dental Radiology 3.0
DENT 116Dental Restorative Techniques 3.0
DENT 118Dental Anatomy 4.0
DENT 121Intermediate Chairside Assisting 6.0
DENT 122Chairside Related Theory 4.0
DENT 124Advanced Dental Radiology 2.0
DENT 126Dental Restorative Techniques 4.0
DENT 129Chairside Clinical Experience 2.0
DENT 131Advanced Chairside Assisting 6.0
DENT 136Dental Restorative Techniques 2.0
DENT 138Office Management 3.0
DENT 139Chairside Clinical Experience 8.0
DENT 160EFDA Exam Preparation 3.0
Browse additional programs in the CCS Online Catalog.
All course offerings are subject to change. The college cannot guarantee class offerings, designated times or specific instructors - as funding levels and student interest may affect whether or not an offering is available.

Click on the course title to view course description.

Course Title Credits