What is a Certified Dental Assistant?
Certified dental assistants (CDAs) are educated, licensed and regulated members of an integrated dental healthcare team that provides oral care services to patients. There are approximately 26,000 to 29,000 dental assistants in Canada. The practice of dental assisting involves collaboration with patients, other healthcare professionals and society to achieve and maintain optimal oral health and overall health and well-being.
Certified Dental Assistants work alongside of the dentist. Specific duties include:
- Preparing and maintaining dental instruments and equipment
- Maintaining appropriate infection control
- Assisting the dentist
- Preparing dental materials such as dental composites, amalgams and cements
- Providing patient education and comfort
- Performing patient care procedures such as taking health histories; assisting in patient assessment; exposing of dental images; patient charting; treatment planning; polishing teeth and delivering preventative fluoride applications.
- Carrying out office administration services, including management of dental records
Our graduates are career-ready and are highly employable. Certified dental assistants are employed in a variety of practice settings including:
- Dental offices
- Specialty practices such as children's specialist, orthodontics, or oral surgery
- Hospital dental clinics
- BC Cancer Agency
- Community health clinics and public health facilities
- Residential care facilities for seniors and the disabled
Employment opportunities also exist in education, research, sales and marketing of dental products, and dental insurance company administration.
For more information about the Certified Dental Assisting profession, please visit Canadian Dental Assistants Association
What you will learn
This is a 10 month, hands-on program with opportunities to work with a range of equipment and techniques.
CNC Dental Assisting program offers small class sizes and a 1:8 ratio of faculty to students in the clinical setting. Our clinic is equipped with 20 dental operatories and 4 radiography rooms with computerized dental stations and digital radiography and record keeping abilities. Students are activity involved in our dental clinic providing patient-centered oral healthcare care services.
Our dental assisting curriculum also includes community-based student activities. For example, CNC Dental Studies works collaboratively with the Northern Health Authority to deliver a Seal in a Smile program to elementary school aged children annually.
Top 5 reasons to enroll at CNC
- Career- ready, highly employable graduates
- Educated, caring and experienced faculty
- Small class sizes with collaborative education
- Large clinic with 20 computerized/digital units
- Affordable cost of living
- Successful completion of one of the following:
- Grade 12 with English 12, or English 12: First Peoples or Technical and Professional Communications 12 or equivalent
- ABE/CCP Advanced Certificate and English 050 or equivalent
- GED Certificate and English 050 or English 12, or English 12: First Peoples or Technical and Professional Communications 12 or equivalent
- Successful completion of either Biology 12 or Biology 050, with a grade of C or higher.
Before the program starts, you’ll need to complete College forms certifying current immunizations, a dental examination, and a health self-assessment. We’ll send you the forms during the acceptance process. You must also be vaccinated for hepatitis B.
You’ll have to undergo a criminal record search.
Some experience, volunteer or paid, in a dental office/clinic is strongly suggested. Please include a statement describing the length, type, and location of previous experience. If you have no previous experience, you may wish to consider the CNC course Introduction to Dentistry (DENO 150).
Upon entry into the program, students must provide documentation of CPR certification, level C (preferred) or Health Care Provider (HCP). CPR online courses are not acceptable. Students are responsible for the costs of CPR certification and for maintaining certification while in the program.
The costs of immunizations and criminal record checks are the responsibility of the student.
Two seats in each program intake will be reserved for qualified aboriginal applicants.
One seat in each program intake will be reserved for a qualified international student applicant.
When there are more applicants than seats available, the following criteria will be used to select half the class:
Max. points Letter grade for English 12 or English 12: First Peoples or English 045 or Technical and Professional Communications 12
Letter grade for Biology 12 or Biology 050
Resident of BC or the Yukon
One of the following:
- Completion of DENO 150 (2 points)
- Completion of a dental receptionist program (2 points)
- Volunteer work or chairside experience of 30 or more verifiable hours in a dental office (2 points)
- 15 to 29 hours of verifiable volunteer work or chairside experience (1 point)
Persistent interest in the program, as shown by repeated qualified applications
Maximum possible points
Statement of purpose
To provide the educational foundation for oral health care providers entering practice so they can have a positive impact on the health of the community and on their profession.
Applicants are advised dental studies is a physically demanding profession which may exacerbate any hand, wrist, back, neck, or shoulder problems that an applicant might be experiencing. People with sensitive skin and conditions such as sensitivity to latex or other allergies, may be affected by some materials used in dental care. This information is provided in the event you may wish to discuss it with a health care professional.
The Dental Studies Department of the College of New Caledonia believes in providing credit for previous education that directly relates to either the Dental Hygiene or Dental Assisting program. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate they have previously met the goals and objectives of a particular course.
The student must approach the Curriculum Co-ordinator with the request to have his/her credentials evaluated as they relate to a course. The Curriculum Co-ordinator, in consultation with the instructor responsible for the course, will evaluate the student’s credentials. The student must provide copies of transcripts and course syllabi with course objectives as part of their credentials.
Challenges for all courses must be submitted within three weeks after the program starts. The student should attend all classes until it is determined if credit is granted. Students will be advised of the Exemption and Assessment Policy in their program acceptance letters.
Refer to “Admissions, registration and records” and “Fees” in this calendar for policy and fee information on exemptions, challenge exams, and prior learning assessment.
Criminal record search
Given the scope of the Criminal Records Review Act, CNC requires criminal record searches for applicants for program areas that involve working with children or other vulnerable persons.
You will have to have a criminal record search with the BC Ministry of Public Safety at the beginning of the program. The cost of this search is your responsibility. A search which identifies relevant criminal convictions may prevent you from entering clinical or practicum setting components of the program and therefore not able to graduate.
- Word processing and Internet experience are necessary for students registered in the program.
- In addition to expenses of tuition, textbooks, and uniforms, students are expected to purchase miscellaneous clinic supplies and to cover the cost of CPR training. Specific information regarding the purchase of equipment, clinical attire, textbooks, and other costs will be provided in an acceptance letter and during the first week of class.
- It may be necessary for a student to be placed in a practicum location outside the Prince George area. Students are expected to cover the costs of accommodation, travel, and living expenses.
- Dental assistants need good eyesight. Before you’re accepted into the program, it’s strongly recommended that you have an eye examination and obtain corrective eyewear if needed.
A student who is unsuccessful in a dental assisting course once will be allowed to apply for re-admission to the program. Multiple course failures or a subsequent failure in dental assisting courses will exclude the student from further study and re-admission to the program; that student may not apply again to the program under the new student category. The dental assisting program must be completed within a three-year period.
Re-admission to the program is considered on a space-available basis and will be administered according to the following priorities:
- A student who has successfully completed the prerequisite courses and/or who, at the time of withdrawal maintained an overall grade of “C” or higher, will be accorded first priority.
- A student who has failed a dental assisting course or who has withdrawn from the dental assisting course with less than a “C” grade standing in the course will be accorded second priority.
- An evaluation of course work completed elsewhere will be necessary for the student requesting a transfer from another accredited dental assisting program; the student will then be subject to the criteria above and will be accorded third priority.
- A student who withdraws twice from the same course, and applies for readmission to that course, will be accorded the lowest priority on the course’s waiting list.
Application forms are available from the Office of Admissions, Registration and Records, and may be submitted after September 15 for the following year. Applicants are advised to submit their applications as early as possible in the academic year.
Applications received after March 31 for fall entry into open enrolment programs are considered late and will be processed subject to course availability.
Applications must be completed before April 30 to be considered in the selection process. Acceptance into the program commences May 1 for the intake in September.
To be eligible for registration and certification with the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia, graduates must pass the National Dental Assistant Board Examination.
Invest in your future
The estimated cost for this program is $5,707.
- Tuition: $4,686
- Student fees: $711
- Books and supplies: $310~
These costs are an estimate. Student fees vary by campus.
Supplies for this program can be purchased from the bookstore.
Paying for college
We're here to help. You can apply for scholarships and bursaries through CNC. We can also help you find loans and other funding. Visit Financial aid to find out how.
Salaries and employment
Graduates working in this field are making $33K — $44K per year.
Looking for a job? Check the student employment opportunities.
The estimated cost for this program is $19,676.
This cost is an estimate and subject to change. This does not include registration fees, text books, medical insurance or living expenses.