Dental Assistant

Why Choose This Program?

Looking for a career you can smile about? Consider dental assisting.

A highly skilled dental assistant is a vital member of the dental healthcare team. Reducing patient anxiety, preparing instruments, materials and treatment rooms, fabricating temporary crowns and applying sealants are all in a day’s work.

Want even more variety?  In addition to chairside assisting, the dental assistant graduate can pursue career paths as a dental office manager in a specialty office, public or private practice, a dental product sales representative or an OSHA compliance officer. With an additional degree and experience, dental assistants can teach in a dental assisting program.

Brush up on degree requirements and see if dental assisting is right for you.

Skills Acquired

  • Prepare instruments, materials and treatment rooms
  • Utilize infection control measures
  • Anticipate sequence of dental procedures
  • Utilize innovative technology as it relates to the dental profession
  • Take radiographs and perform expanded duties such as fabricating temporary crowns and applying sealants 

Career Choices in Dental Assisting 

Types of Careers

  • Chairside dental assistant
  • Dental office manager
  • Dental assisting instructor
  • Dental product sales representative
  • OSHA compliance officer 

Potential Employers

  • Private dental practice
  • Group dental practice or clinics
  • Specialty offices such as  Orthodontics and Oral Surgery
  • Dental Public Health facilities 

Projected Job Growth

Employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 25 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Average State Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay in 2012 for dental assistants was $34,500 ($16.59 per hour).  Average salary in Minnesota is $33,930 ($16.31) and Central Minnesota is $33,142 ($15.93) 

Degrees & Certificates

The St. Cloud Technical and Community College dental assistant programs offers a diploma or an AAS degree option. The AAS degree is designed to transfer some general education credits toward a dental hygiene degree and/or a related baccalaureate major. 


"When it comes time for their internship, SCTCC students are extremely well prepared; we only accept dental assisting students from SCTCC. I am a strong believer of the 2 year program; there is too much information to learn in 9 to 12 months.  The high percentage of job placement upon graduation is a testament to the program."
-John Stangl, DDS-Buffalo Family Dentistry, member of the SCTCC dental assistant advisory committee.

"I couldn’t be happier with the SCTCC Dental Assistant Program.  I started with very little knowledge about the dental field and graduated with complete confidence.  The faculty is always there for you; the hands-on dental clinic is amazing.  The program allowed me to balance school with home life which I am thankful for! I would highly recommend this program to anyone aspiring to be a dental assistant"
-Ruth Diffley- 2015 Graduate from the SCTCC Dental Assistant Program


Clubs & Organizations

Dental assisting students are invited to participate in (SADAA) Student American Dental Assistants Association and the Minnesota Dental Assistants Association.  SADAA is an organization created to help students develop leadership skills and self-confidence. Continued membership provides the graduate with professional contacts, opportunities for learning through continuing education and a chance to participate in local and national governance of  profession organizations. 

Accreditations & Credentials

St. Cloud Technical and Community College dental assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Graduates will be eligible to write the Dental Assisting National Board Certification examination as well as the Minnesota licensure examination. Statistically over the past several years, SCTCC dental assistant students have scored above the national and state average on both of these exams. Students earn the credentials CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) and LDA (Licensed dental Assistant) after successful completion of these exams. 

Other Information


Additional Program Information is available from this webpage, including the Admissions Process for the programs, Program Faculty Information, and other important program related information.  Please review all of the program information on the Program Admissions link.  This is a professional education program and you will be expected to display personal responsibility and understanding of the requirements of the program and profession.  If you still have additional questions, please attend a program information session and learn more about applying to the program and what types of jobs this education can lead towards.

Program Information Session

To learn more about the Dental Assistant program, sign up for an Information Session. These sessions provide an opportunity to:

  • Talk face-to-face with program faculty.
  • Tour state-of-the-art labs, where hands on learning comes to life.
  • Get your questions answered.

Watch the program video and review program web pages for more information.

You May Also Like

Career Options


Contact Info

320.308.5000 or 1.800.222.1009

1540 Northway Drive
St. Cloud, MN 56303