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Dental Assisting
College Credit
& Degrees
Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the duties of a Dental Assistant?

The dental assistant is a member of the dental office or clinic staff whose responsibilities include chairside assisting, office management, radiography, laboratory procedures, and public relations. Specific duties may include:

  • transferring of instruments to the dentist or hygienist
  • mixing a variety of dental materials
  • taking, developing and mounting x‑rays
  • taking preliminary impressions
  • recording medical and dental histories
  • taking and recording patient vital signs
  • performing lab procedures
  • sterilization and infections control procedures
  • providing oral health instructions to patients
  • scheduling appointments and preparing insurance forms
  • managing the recall system
  • maintaining inventory
  • patient management before, during and after dental treatment


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What is the difference between a dental assistant, a dental hygienist and a dental lab technician?
A dental assistant assists the dentist with all dental treatment procedures and with office operations. A dental hygienist performs certain dental procedures in the mouth, primarily cleaning teeth. A dental laboratory technician fabricates partials, crowns, dentures, and other appliances as prescribed by a dentist.

What is the average starting salary for a dental assistant?

Salaries vary throughout different parts of the community, state and country. The national average for dental assistants is currently $14.00 per hour. Our graduates report starting salaries of between $10.00 and $15.00 per hour. Many offices provide significant benefit packages such as paid vacations, holidays and sick days, free dental care, medical insurance, uniform allowance, continuing education allowance, and retirement plans.

How much does the Program cost?


Tuition and Fees (In county) $1606.64
Laboratory Fees 60.00
Textbooks 170.00
Scrubs 175.00
Misc 50.00
Professional Liability 12.50
Physical Exam including Hepatitis Inoculations 200.00
Background Check 85-94.00


Optional Expenses:

Ohio Certification Dental Assistant Exam $50.00
Ohio Dental Assisting Radiographer Certificate Fee 25.00
Dental Assisting National Board Exam 300.00
Transportation and Parking Depends on mode and distance
Classroom Supplies Depends on individual need
Health Insurance Student Policy available

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How successful have CCC dental assisting graduates been in between finding jobs?

All graduates who have wanted to be employed as dental assistants have been offered one or more jobs and most began work immediately after graduation.

Is a license required to work as a dental assistant?
The Ohio State Dental Board requires dental assistants to be certified in radiology to take x-rays in dental offices. The OSDB does not currently require a person to be licensed or certified to be employed as a dental assistant. However, certification is encouraged as it indicates a recognized degree of achievement. Some employers prefer to hire certified dental assistants.

If I want to advance in the dental profession, what is available to me?
Several opportunities are available for advancement in the dental field:

  • Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary (EFDA): Dental Assistants may increase their responsibilities to include direct patient care. They must take additional training and pass a State examination. These advanced assistants are known as EFDA's. They work more independently and command higher salaries. Tri-C does not teach "expanded functions", however, graduates of Tri-C's may apply to EFDA programs at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Ohio State University  or Jefferson Community College.
  • Associate Degree: Many credits from dental assisting can be applied toward an Associate of Arts or Technical Arts Degree at CCC.

Is Financial Assistance available?

Yes. Financial aid is available in the form of various grant, student loan and Veteran's programs. Scholarships may also be available for dental program students through the Tri-C Foundation and national dental organizations. Questions regarding financial aid and necessary forms should be directed to the Financial Aid Office at the Metro Campus at 987‑4100. Staff members will assist with completion of forms if needed.

Any student who intends to apply for financial aid of any type should apply as early as possible since processing takes several weeks.

If I am interested in a future career as a Dental Hygienist or a Dentist, will this program help me?

Yes. The program has helped students meet their career goals. If you are interested, please ask for details.

Does the College assist with job placement when I graduate?
Yes. The department does not guarantee employment upon graduation, but graduates are assisted in finding employment through opportunities provided by the Program.

Can I attend classes on a part-time basis?
Yes. The daytime course of study can be taken part‑time but it takes longer to complete the program.

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Is the program also offered at night?

No. Not enough students have been interested in night classes. If you are interested, you may contact the program director to check if a program may be started.

Can I apply before I graduate from High School?
Yes. Applications from high school seniors are accepted before graduation. Submission of a final high school transcript is required upon graduation.

What is the purpose of the observation requirement? Do I have to complete all 20 hours before I apply?

By observing in a dental office, you will have first hand experience with which to make a good decision about a career in dentistry. Most students find this to be an exciting experience which confirms their desire to enter the field. A few discover that they prefer another field. An application MAY be submitted before the observation hours are complete. The 20 hours must be completed, however, by the first day of class. A form to document the hours can be obtained from the dental assisting department.

If I do not meet the English level eligibility, can I still be accepted into the program?
Yes. Applicants who are unable to meet the English (ENG‑1010) course  completion requirement prior to the start of class may be accepted to enroll in a special curriculum plan which combines basic studies (including English) and dental assisting. Details will be discussed when appropriate.

Do I need a physical examination before I enter the program?
A physical exam and immunizations (including the hepatitis B vaccine) are required AFTER acceptance to the program and PRIOR to the beginning of any patient (student/partner) experiences.

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How to reach us

Mary Lou Gerosky, CDA RDH M Ed 
Metropolitan Campus
2900 Community College Ave.
Cleveland, OH  44115-3196


Health Careers Enrollment Ctr.
Cuyahoga Community College
Metropolitan Campus
2900 Community College Ave.
Cleveland OH 44115-3196

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