About the Dental Assisting Program

The CCSF Dental Assisting Program prepares you to successfully pass the California State Licensure Examination to become a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and the National Examination to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). These courses are transferable to California State Universities.

Requirements for Completion of Program

  • ENGL 88 or ESL 186 or equivalent (placement in ENGL 1A or ESL 188)
  • BIO 9 or BIO 106 (formerly ANAT 14) or BIO 108 (formerly ANAT 25) or BIO 112 (formerly PHYS 1 or PHYS 12) or equivalent
  • Typing skill of 45 wpm or better, or Keyboarding course
  • Dental Assisting courses with a grade of "C" or higher

View Detailed Program Requirements

Program Fees

Fee First Semester Second Semester
Enrollment Fee $700 $870
Textbooks, supplies, lab fees, uniforms, vaccination $450 $230
Misc Items (Nametags, safety eye-wear & other small items) $25 $25
Totals $1175 $1125


The above fees do not include licensure examination fees:

  • Certified Dental Assistant Exam $425
  • Registered Dental Assistant Exam $160

Financial Aid and scholarships are available. Please visit the Financial Aid office for information about free tuition for San Francisco Residents and/or other Financial Aid assistance. Additionally, American and California Dental Assistants Associations have scholarships available for the Dental Assisting Students during the final year of their program; information may be obtained from the Dental Assisting Advisor.

About the Dental Assisting Career

Employment: Full-time and part-time employment are available. Positions available in offices/clinics, sales, insurance companies, education, compliance companies.

Starting Salary: Approximately $25 per hour

Possible Fringe Benefits: (after 3 months)

  1. Dental
  2. Vacation/sick leave
  3. Medical
  4. Possible profit sharing
Frequently Asked Questions

In order to pre-register for the Dental Assisting Program, it is best to speak to the Dental Assisting Director/Advisor and complete the Program Application and Medical History Forms. If you register during the beginning of the Fall Semester without speaking with the Program Director, it will be necessary to make an appointment during the first week of school and complete the necessary application forms.

Yes, if they can meet the other college/program criteria.

The dental assistants perform a wide range of tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. Some specific tasks dental assistants may perform are:

  • assisting the dentist during a variety of procedures, exposing and developing dental radiographs
  • assisting in obtaining the patient's medical history and taking his or her patient's vital signs
  • preparing and sterilizing the proper instruments and equipment
  • taking impressions for patient's records
  • polishing patients' teeth
  • patient education from home care instruction and pre- or post-operative instructions
  • performing office management tasks
  • helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment
  • providing patients with the dentist's instructions for oral care following surgery or some other types of treatment

Salaries are usually slightly high compared to those earned in other health care occupations requiring one year of training due to the current shortage of Dental Assistants throughout the U.S.

Students in high school should take:

  • Science
  • English/Communication
  • Business Computer courses

Yes, if the courses completed meet the academic standards of CCSF and are equivalent to the courses required. The College Registrar evaluates transcripts for transfer units and the Dental Assisting Advisor evaluates courses of English, Science, and Typing (keyboard) for admission to the one-year program.

The Dental Assisting Program is an impacted program and the student must meet the needed College requirements if entering the two-year program. If the student is entering the one-year program, the student must have the necessary prerequisites on file in the Dental Assisting office. The application process will be based on first-come, first-served. If a student has completed the necessary paperwork, the student will be notified at the beginning of April

Because of the many hours of laboratory and clinical work in addition to lecture hours (approximately 22 per week), in addition to the homework involved; there is little time for elective courses or part-time jobs. Although many of our students have part-time jobs, the hours must be minimal and be flexible with the student's class schedule

Yes, there are two Board Exams that graduates can take upon completion of the program.

  1. Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) exam is given by the Dental Board of California. The exam includes RDA Written and RDA Law & Ethics. The passing rate for our previous graduates is 90% for the Written is 100% for both the Law & Ethics. For more information, please visit their website at https://www.dbc.ca.gov/
  2. Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam is given by the Dental Assisting National Board. The exam consists of CDA Written only. The passing rate for our previous graduates is 100%. For more information, please visit their website at https://www.danb.org/