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The Dental Assisting application opens April 1st, 2021 and closes May 3, 2021.

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Due to the COVID-19 crisis, and the cancellation of our March 23rd Information Session, you may submit your application to the Dental Assisting Program before you have completed an Information Session. 

Two prerequisites for the Dental Assisting program will be required to apply for the Fall of 2021.

The two prerequisites are:

  • DENA 050 – Dental Communications
  • DENA 056 – Basic Dental Science

These courses will be offered during the fall and spring semesters so that they may be completed in time for the next application cycle.

Career Education

This is a Career Education Program. According to the California Department of Education, Career Education is a program of study that involves a multiyear sequence of courses that integrates core academic knowledge with technical and occupational knowledge to provide students with a pathway to postsecondary education and careers.


This program is a two-semester certificate program which prepares the student for employment to work as a Dental Assistant (DA) as well as prepares the student for their state and national boards. Training includes four and six-handed dentistry in: basic and advanced chairside dental support procedures; sterilization of instruments and infection control; prepare and manipulate a variety of dental materials; work on the dental patients under the supervision of the dentist; California Dental Practice Act; oral and written communications in the dental setting; operate dental x-ray equipment including exposing, processing, and mounting dental radiographs manually and digitally; coronal polish; dental business administration software and responsibilities are also taught as well as all dental specialties. Students must complete four units of Directed Clinical Practice. This allows the student to participate in the externship to advance their clinical skills.

The program is accredited by the Dental Board of California and the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Upon completion of the program the student is awarded a Certificate of Achievement from the college and may complete an Associate degree with additional coursework. Students will receive a Certificate of Completion to operate dental x-ray equipment in the State of California. Proof of completion in Coronal Polish, Dental Sealants, Infection Control and Dental Practice Act will be presented to successful students at the completion of the program. The student is eligible to take the California Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) State written and practical boards and the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) National written examination.

Students must maintain a grade of "C" (75%) or higher in all courses to continue in the program.

Course repetition in this program is not permitted. This program is governed by the Allied Health Department Policies.

Eligibility for enrollment in this program is determined by a special admissions process. Interested students should contact the admissions office at 619-388-2684.

Dental Assisting Mission Statement

The Dental Assisting Program at San Diego Mesa College provides dental assisting students the knowledge and skills to succeed as a dental health care professional. As a State and Nationally accredited program, we promote learning, leading to licensure and credentialing in dental assisting. By providing quality education to our diverse students, we contribute to the regional dental workforce, which provides access to care and dental health in San Diego County.

Award Type Units

*and courses to meet graduation requirements, general education and electives as needed to meet the minimum of 60 units required for the degree.

Program Goals

The Dental Assisting Program is committed to:

  1. Keeping current with the state-of-the-art dental equipment and techniques;
  2. Providing dental assisting students currency for employment;
  3. Providing the dental assisting students with the best training for success in their future careers;
  4. Promoting safe, ethical, and quality patient care;
  5. Developing or enhancing the student's critical thinking, time-management, problem solving and communication skills.

Program Learning Outcomes