Manchester Community College’s thirty-six credit Dental Assistant certificate program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association. It’s been designed to prepare students for a career as a dental assistant and to take the profession’s Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination to become Certified Dental Assistants (CDAs). This full-time program can be completed in eleven months. Graduates also successfully complete the Radiation Health and Safety examination that is required by the state of Connecticut.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
Dental assistants help a dentist during dental procedures by handing instruments to the dentist and operating a suction device. They also perform other tasks, such as preparing a patient for treatment, overseeing the cleaning and sterilization of instruments, taking impressions and exposing x-rays. In general, the assistant does those tasks that enable the dentist to practice efficiently and focus more on the patient. In some instances, an assistant will also handle front desk duties, such as answering the telephone, scheduling appointments and overseeing supplies and deliveries.
What is the Employment Outlook?
As people live longer and retain more of their natural teeth, there will be an increase in the number of patients requiring dental care. One way to meet this demand is for dentists to hire dental assistants. It is not uncommon for one dentist to employ two or three dental assistants. Both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Connecticut Department of Labor are predicting a high growth rate well into the next decade for the dental assisting field. According to the Connecticut Statewide Occupational Employment and Wages 2010 Report, dental assistants have the potential to earn above average salaries.
What Courses are Required?
At MCC, the Dental Assistant program curriculum is a combination of didactic and laboratory courses. The curriculum includes courses on oral anatomy and pathophysiology, dental radiography, infection control in dentistry, chairside assisting, dental materials, oral health promotion and dental practice management. Dental Assistant students are also required to complete a minimum of 300 clinical practicum hours.
Where Do Students Receive Clinical Training?
Manchester Community College enjoys an excellent working partnership with the UConn School of Dental Medicine. Dental Assistant students work with the university’s dental students and dentists in the general dentistry and dental specialty clinics and have earned an exceptional reputation in the performance of their chairside assisting practices.
In addition to their work at the UConn School of Dental Medicine, Dental Assistant students rotate through at least one private dental practice, public health clinic or pediatric clinic.
Application to Program
In addition to completing the MCC Students Application, students who are interested in pursuing a health career in the Dental Assistant program are required to fill out a separate Dental Assistant Application (applications are also available by calling the Admissions office at 860-512-3210) and return it the Health Careers Office, LRC A237.
Rosemary Ryan, Program Director
Dental Assistant Program