Dental Assisting Program

Do I need to fill out a special application for admission to the Dental Assisting Program?

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.

Are male applicants accepted into the program?

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

What are the advantages of a dental assisting career?

  • An excellent job market - more than six positions for each graduate
  • Flexibility - both full-time and part-time positions are available throughout the U.S.
  • Personal satisfaction - dental assisting involves people contact, and with the personal interaction comes the personal satisfaction of knowing you have really helped someone and provided a valuable health service
  • Variety - dental assistants have one of the most diverse and interesting of all positions in a dental office

What do dental assistants do?

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 patient's 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

What is a dental assistant's earning potential?

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.

Which High School courses would best prepare me for entering the Dental Assisting Program at CCSF?

Students in high school should take:

  • Science
  • English/Communication
  • Business Computer courses

Am I able to transfer other college course work to CCSF in order to be eligible for the 1-year program?

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.

Can I enter the program in the Spring semester?

No, students are only admitted into the program at the beginning of the Fall Semester. The Fall Semester begins during Mid-August. The Spring Semester is an excellent time to complete the prerequisites for the one-year program beginning each Fall.

When do students receive Notice of Admission to the 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. 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.

What is the schedule like once you are accepted into the program?

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.

What are the costs of the program?

California Community Colleges charge a $46 per unit.

The remainder of the costs include: textbooks, lab fees, uniforms/surgical gowns, safety glasses, vaccinations, student membership to the American Dental Assistant Association, fees for state and national board testing, and miscellaneous costs. 

Please contact the Financial Aid Office for information about free tuition for San Francisco Residents and/or other Financial Aid assistance.

  Approximate Cost
First Semester
Second Semester
Certified Dental Assistant Exam
Registered Dental Assistant Exam

Are there any Scholarships or Financial Aid available to the Dental Assisting Program?

Yes, the College has both Scholarships and Financial Aid available. The student will need to apply for Scholarships and Financial Aid through the appropriate offices.  The American and California Dental Assistants Associations have scholarships available for the Dental Assisting Students during their final year of their program; information may be obtained from the Dental Assisting Advisor.


Are there Board Exams? If so, how do I find out more information about it?

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 http://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 http://danb.org/


Do you provide free dental x-ray services? If so, how do I schedule an appointment?

Yes, we provide free dental x-ray services as long as you have a prescription from your existing dentist. 

We only have x-ray services during the Spring semester. To make an appointment, please contact Kay Murphy at kmurphy@ccsf.edu.


How can I request for my x-rays? 

If you were one of our student's patient, we may have your records on file. Please contact Kay Murphy, the radiology instructor, at kmurphy@ccsf.edu to request for your x-ray records. 

Do you provide other dental services?

We are not a dental clinic. For any dental issues, please visit a local dentist or a dental school such as University of Pacific (http://dental.pacific.edu/dental-services) or University of California, San Francisco (https://www.ucsfdentalcenter.org)