Dental Assisting

What to expect from a career as a Dental Assistant

Dental assisting programs at Ontario colleges are a great way to fast-track into the dental field. Programs provide students with the broad knowledge and in-demand skills they’ll need to take on a variety of responsibilities at dental practices, from cleaning and hygiene promotion to lab work, administration and other assistant tasks.

If you’re interested in working in the dental industry and you have the necessary interpersonal skills to become a dental assistant, here’s what you need to know.

Dental Assisting Courses

Ontario college dental assisting programs combine theory and practical courses to prepare students for Level I and Level II dental assistant roles. Students will learn ethics, patient care, laboratory skills and how to work and communicate effectively within a large dental health care team. Course subjects typically include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Oral microbiology
  • Dental radiography
  • Preventative and emergency care
  • Pharmacology

Field placements are an integral part of dental assisting programs, giving students the opportunity to enhance their skills and make contacts within the industry.

Note: Dental office administration programs, also offered by Ontario colleges, focus on the clinical knowledge and administrative skills necessary to work in a dental practice. Also look for Ontario college denturism and dental technology programs for specialized areas of study in the dental industry.

General Dental Assisting Program Requirements

Dental assisting programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 English credit. Additional program requirements vary, but may include:

  • Grade 11 or 12 biology
  • Grade 11 or 12 chemistry
  • Grade 12 math

Students may also have to submit non-academic information for field placements, such as a Police Record Check and specific immunization records.

Dental Assistant Jobs and Salaries

To be a practising dental assistant, students must obtain certification from the Ontario Dental Assistants Association. Once certified, graduates can work as dental assistants in clinics, public health units and dental practices.

Dental assistants perform a number of tasks: polishing, oral hygiene instruction, teeth whitening, operating dental radiographers, assisting dentists with procedures and much more. Other dental jobs exist in administration, education, health promotion and laboratory studies.

Dental assistant salaries usually start on the lower end, with the average in the high $20,000 range. With experience, average salaries are around $38,000 per year and could go as high as $50,000.

Ontario Colleges Offering Dental Assisting Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of dental assisting programs at Ontario colleges.

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