Academic Certificate Program in Dental Assisting

Division of Nursing & Allied Health — Curriculum Code 6005

A Joint Admissions Program with the Rutgers University-School of Health Related Professions (SHRP)
Will Earn Upon Program Completion: Academic Certificate
(Also see General Science A.S. Degree Program)


Why major in Dental Assisting?

Dental Assistants help dentists in caring for patients. This academic certificate program, offered jointly by Essex County College and the Rutgers University-School of Health Related Professions (SHRP), prepares students to take the licensing exam to qualify to work with dentists. Dental Assistants can earn a competitive salary, work in a professional environment, and enjoy the advantages of flexible work hours. The program is accredited by the American Dental Association/Council on Dental Education/Dental Assisting Section.

If I major in Dental Assisting, can I transfer to an upper-division college or university?

The major is job-oriented and not designed for transfer to a baccalaureate program. However, credits earned upon program completion can be applied to Essex County College’s associate’s degree program in Dental Hygiene. Also, other colleges and universities, including Thomas Edison State College and the Rutgers University-School of Health Related Professions (SHRP), may apply most or all of the courses you have taken toward a baccalaureate program.

Are there any requirements I must satisfy before I start taking courses in my major?

Admission into the professional component of the program is selective. The application deadline is April 1 for enrollment in the following spring semester. Each student must meet with a program advisor prior to submission of an application. The following are the minimum requirements for admission:

  • Be at college level in reading, English, and mathematics, which may require the completion of developmental courses based on placement test scores.
  • Have a grade of “C” or better in each of the following prerequisite courses: BIO 121, ENG 101, and PSY 101 and have a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher.
How long will it take for me to complete this program?

If you do not need developmental course work and have completed the prerequisite courses for admission, you can complete the professional phase of the program in two academic semesters if you register for an average of 12 credits each semester. It is important to note that some courses may be web-based and, as such, may require students to have a computer and internet access.

Where should I direct specific questions about this program?

Call the Division at (973) 877-1868/1865.

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:
  • Take the Certified Dental Assistants (CDA) examination administered by the Dental Assisting National Board; and
  • Perform the following duties: assist the dentist in all phases of treatment; sterilize instruments; prepare treatment rooms; provide patient education and nutritional counseling; arrange and confirm appointments; prepare dental insurance claims; expose, process, and mount radiographs; perform a variety of intra-oral expanded functions; fabricate mouth guards; work as members of a dental team; perform basic laboratory procedures; and select and transfer instruments to the dentist.



(10 credits)

Written & Oral Communication (3 credits)

ENG 101 (one 3-credit course)

Scientific Knowledge & Reasoning (4 credits)

BIO 121 (one 4-credit course)

Society & Human Behavior (3 credits)

PSY 101 (one 3-credit course)



(23 credits)

DAS 103 Dental Materials* (3 credits)
DAS 106 Dental Science* (2 credits)
DAS 107 Clinical Assisting* (3 credits)
DAS 108 Practice Management* (1 credit)
DAS 110 Internship* (1 credit)
DHY 101 Dental Head and Neck Anatomy* (3 credits)
DHY 102 Dental Radiology* (3 credits)
DHY 110 Medical Emergencies* (1 credit)
DHY 112 Introduction to the Dental Professions* (4 credits)
DHY 113 Dental Health Education I* (1 credit)
DHY 205 Dental Specialties I* (1 credit)

*Note: A minimum grade of “C+” is reguired in all core dental courses in order to utilize them in applying to the Dental Hygiene A.S. Degree Program.

Note: The minimum passing grade for all courses is “C.” If you earn a grade below “C”, you need to repeat that course.

Total Credits Required for Academic Certificate: 33


Note: See a program advisor for recommended sequence of general education requirements.
Spring Semester
DHY 101 Dental Head and Neck Anatomy (3 credits)
DHY 112 Introduction to the Dental Professions (4 credits)
DAS 103 Dental Materials (3 credits)
DHY 110 Medical Emergencies (1 credit)
DHY 205 Dental Specialties I (1 credit)

Fall Semester
DAS 108 Practice Management (1 credit)
DAS 106 Dental Science (2 credits)
DHY 102 Dental Radiology (3 credits)
DHY 113 Dental Health Education (1 credit)
DAS 107 Clinical Assisting (3 credits)
DAS 110 Internship (1 credit)


(1) The two General Education Integrated Course Goals, Ethical Reasoning & Action and Information Literacy, are both addressed by the required curriculum described above.
(2) This plan assumes the completion of all required developmental courses in reading, writing, and mathematics as well as other pre- and co-requisites for some of the courses, as listed in the Course Descriptions section.

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