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Dental Assistant Program Application Information

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Build Your Future as a Dental Assistant

Across the country, there is a profound shortage of qualified Dental Assistants and Registered Dental Assistants. Our program prepares students to satisfy this need. As a Dental Assistant you will be involved in a variety of duties including managing the front office, preparing the patient, taking radiographs, and mixing dental materials.

The Dental Assisting Program is a two-semester program that includes patient care experiences in a fully equipped on-site facility, with students assigned to clinics or dental offices for their externship experiences. Registered Dental Assistants not only are supportive members of the dental team, but also perform important in-mouth, oral procedures under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

After completion of dental assisting requirements, students may also earn a Dental Assisting Associate in Science Degree.

The job market for successful graduates consists of general dentistry as well as specialties in various disciplines such as oral surgery, orthodontics, pedodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, and periodontics. These office settings vary from private to group practice, but also consist of supportive industries such as dental laboratories, insurance industries sales, and education.

The Cypress College Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of approval without reporting requirements. The program also is accredited by the Dental Board of California, the Accrediting body for dental professionals in California through the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Student Certification Areas

After successful completion of the Dental Assisting Program, students are eligible for certification in the following areas:

  • Registered Dental Assistant (RDA)
  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)
  • Radiation Safety
  • Coronal Polish
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants
  • Infection Control
  • Dental Practice Act
  • CPR (Basic Life Support/ 2 year Certification)

Program Goals

The goal of the Dental Assisting Program is to provide the student with the educational opportunity to attain the academic knowledge and competence necessary to qualify for both the National Certification

Examination and the California State Registered Dental Assistant Examination, and to prepare the student for dental assisting entry-level employment as an integral member of the dental health team.

Program Objectives

  • To provide a dental assisting program to meet challenges presented by demographic changes of the current decade.
  • To promote a dental assisting curriculum that helps build student’s educational and career goals in a success-oriented learning environment.
  • To provide students with the academic resources and clinical experiences to perform the functions approved by the California Dental Practice Act for a Dental Assistant and a Registered Dental Assistant with competence and judgment.
  • To provide students with academic knowledge and clinical skills in the Dental Practice Act, infection control and CPR.
  • To prepare the student to qualify for certification in Radiology Safety, Coronal Polishing and Dental Sealants.
  • To maintain a positive communication network between the advisory committee, dental community, and dental assisting program alumni.
  • To create a safe learning environment in compliance with federal and California state standards and regulations.

Registered Dental Assistant Examination Requirements

In Compliance with the Dental board of California and the Dental Practice Act, all applicants for the Registered Dental Assistant examination must:

  • Graduate from a Board-approved RDA educational Program minimum of 800 hours (approximately 8 months); or take an alternate pathway provided by the board.
  • Complete Board-approved courses in coronal polishing, radiation safety and dental sealants before a license will be issued.
  • Applicants must successfully pass the RDA and Law & Ethics written examinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dental Assisting Certificate, 32 units
Dental Assisting Associate in Science Degree, 60 units

Depending on the number of prerequisites required and the number of units taken each semester, completing the certificate or the degree can take from two semesters to two years.

The program is $46 per unit for California residents, not including books, fees, and supplies. Units vary by course, but the average is three units per course. The unit cost for the certificate and associate degree will vary depending upon the number of prerequisites needed. Most students also qualify for some form of financial aid.

Please be prepared to meet the following estimated expense that will be incurred before the program begins and during.

General Information Entrance Costs

Description Approximate Cost
Tuition $1,472
Lab Fees includes all classes $363
Parking Permit-per semester $35 $70
Textbooks for entire program $610

Additional Expenses and Information

Description Approximate Cost
Purchase Blue and Green Teeth $45
Patient radiology fee for 4 patients paid the first semester (4 x $25) $100
Safety Glasses (2) $6-10
Student membership American Dental Assistant Association (ADAA). This includes your student liability insurance for $10 optional. $45


CPR Card (paid at time CPR is taken) $55
Clinical Attire-3-4 sets ($30/set)With White Socks $90-120
Clinical rubber-soled white shoes $50
Required-Hepatitis Vaccine and physical (may be covered by medical insurance or available at Student Health Services By Appointment) $180
3 pairs Rubber Utility Gloves $10-15

Additional Materials to Help You Through the Program (Approximately $50-$100)

Pocket organizer with appointment calendar
Large 3-ring binder with index dividers for clinical handouts, grading and charting criteria for reference during clinical.
2-inch binder with dividers ( for externship paper)
Plain wristwatch with second hand. Timex nurse’s watch is adequate.
1 box of 45 gal clear trash bags
Plastic clipboard with surface that allows for cleaning
Plastic Container 16½ x 13 x 6¾ inch (for storage of all items) (No bigger)
Hole punch
1 box of paper clips
Pencils and Pens
1 red and blue pencil (Good quality)
Small stapler
1 can of air spray (electronics type)
1 box of Ziploc bags—sandwich size
Egg of Silly Putty
Modeling Clay (3 colors; not play-dough)

Personal Items to Have On-Hand

Feminine hygiene items
Hand lotion
Nail kit
Hair Bands/clips

Licensure and Certification Fees After Graduation

Upon Completion of your program you are eligible to take the State and National Exams these are the approximate costs. Costs are subject to change at anytime.

Description Approximate Cost
(State) RDA Registration Application $120
RDA Written Exam $38.50
(National) CDA-Certified Dental Assistant Exam $380

You’ll be able to work in general dentistry as well as various specialties like oral surgery, orthodontics, pedodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, and andperiodontics. Salaries range from $31,160 to $46,000.

Office settings vary from private to group practice, and supportive industries such as dental laboratories, insurance industries sales, and education.

  • Eligibility for admission to Cypress College.
  • High School graduation, or passing of the General Education Development (GED) or high school proficiency test, or an associate’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Minimum age of 17 to apply. Must be 18 years old by the end of the program.
  • Evidence of good physical and mental health as determined by medical examination upon admission to the program and prior to enrollment. More information on the Dental Assisting program is available in the program brochure.

Related Links:

Please consider attending an information workshop about Cypress College Health Science Programs. The Health Science Workshop Schedule and Reservations link is here: