Dental Assisting Diploma

Career Description

The career of dental assisting is an exciting, challenging, rewarding, and very in-demand career, where no two days will be alike as you help make dental experiences enjoyable for your patients! Dental assistants are critical members of the dental team, responsible for assisting the dentist, dental therapist, or hygienist with many chairside duties, performing many duties independently according to the State Dental Practice Act, in addition to working in the business end of dentistry. This career is also a great building block if you want to further your education as a Restorative Functions Dental Assistant, dental hygienist, office manager, dental therapist, dental sales representative, dental educator, or dentist.

Program Information

The 11-month Dental Assisting Diploma Program at CLC was the first program established in the state, back in 1967! This hands-on, fast-paced program is designed to educate students in chairside skills and expanded functions delegated by the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry. Students will learn ways to treat and prevent dental disease, as well as teach patients preventive dental care. Fall and spring semesters are on-campus, followed by a nine-week summer session where 2 internships are completed in dental practices of your choice. This education prepares students to take national and state written licensing examinations, which are required for certification and licensure as dental assistants in the state of Minnesota.

Program Outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • Perform chair side procedures in a clinical setting;
  • Apply infection control, biohazards and treatment area practices;
  • Perform dental office procedures;
  • Perform radiographic and radiation safety procedures;
  • Communicate professionally with patients, peers, and members of the dental health team; and
  • Model professionalism through continuing education and membership in the American Dental Assistants Association.

Special Program Requirements

In addition to the program requirements, students must meet the following conditions in order to graduate:

  1. College Cumulative GPA Requirement: cumulative grade point average (GPA) of credits attempted and completed at CLC must be at least 2.0;
  2. College Technical Core GPA Requirement: cumulative GPA of credits attempted and completed towards the technical core of the diploma or degree must be at least 2.0;
  3. Residency Requirement: students must complete 25% of their credits at Central Lakes College.
  4. 8 hours of dental clinical observation must be completed by October 1st.
  5. Students who apply for the Dental Assisting Program who meet requirements for Admission will be accepted into the Dental Assisting Diploma for their first year with the option of pursuing their Associates in Applied Science (AAS) their second year.


The CLC Dental Assisting program has been accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) since 1967. The most recent reauthorization visit was conducted in Fall of 2019.


  • To be accepted into the Dental Assisting Program, students must meet Writing Introductory College Level and Reading College Level CLC placement levels.
  • The curriculum in the dental assisting program may expose students to hazardous materials, radiation and/or infectious diseases. Students will be provided with information through education and program policies to protect themselves and their patients from harm. Students will be expected to utilize appropriate safety precautions in the classroom, laboratory and clinic. Program policies are available upon request.
  • All applications to the Minnesota Board of Dentistry for initial license will require a criminal background check.

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:

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Program Course Requirements

Fall Semester (20 credits)
DENT 1106 Dental Orientation and Anatomy, 3 cr
DENT 1116 Dental Clinic I, 8 cr
DENT 1118 Dental Radiology I, 3 cr
DENT 1120 Preventive Dentistry, 2 cr
DENT 1124 Biomaterials, 3 cr
EMTS 1130 AHA Healthcare Provider CPR, 1 cr

Spring Semester (18 credits)
DENT 1114 Pathology, Pharmacology, and Law, 3 cr
DENT 1123* Dental Clinic II, 9 cr
DENT 1129* Dental Radiology II, 2 cr
DENT 1132* Dental Specialties, 2 cr
DENT 1133* Principles of Practice Management and Communication, 2 cr

Summer Session (7 credits)
DENT 1150* Dental Internship (336 Hours), 7 cr

*Denotes Prerequisites

Program News

Initial Dental Assistant Licensure (pdf)

Dental Assisting Program students provide the following services at a very reduced cost: radiographs (x-rays), teeth polishing, fluoride treatments, whitening trays, and sealants. Appointments may be scheduled during the months of February-April. Please call: 218-855-8254 or email: to make an appointment.

CLC ranks among the top Dental Assistant Degree Programs in the U.S. – CLC News

“Central Lakes College has been ranked by as having one of The Best Online Dental Assistant Degree Programs for 2021, with a unique distinction for Best Technical College.”

Program Instructors

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