The dental assistant works as a valued member of the dental health team and assists the dentist in performing professional duties in the operatory, laboratory, and business office. The student becomes competent in chairside assisting, laboratory procedures, x-ray techniques, and in the business related functions of the dental office/clinic.
The program offers a certificate in dental assisting and an associate of science degree with a major in dental assisting. The certificate program requires eight credit hours of prerequisite course work prior to the one academic year (two semesters) of the program. Approximately 1,150 hours of lecture, laboratory, and clinical instruction are included in the dental assisting courses. A second year of study is available which enables students to earn an associate of science degree with a major in dental assisting. Students who are enrolled in the program must achieve a grade of C or better in all courses which directly pertain to their major. An overall grade point average of 2.0 or better is required for graduation from the program.
Upon successful completion of the program, the student receives a Certificate in Dental Assisting which qualifies the student to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board Certification Examination. The dental assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education. The address of the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association is 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678, phone 800/621-8099.
Admission Requirements for Dental Assisting
Students seeking admission to the program must apply for admission to the University before making separate application to the dental assisting program. Dental assisting applicants must be in good health, eligible for dental assisting certification, and capable of performing clinical practice requirements.
- graduation from an accredited high school college preparatory curriculum or a GED;
- completed dental assisting application accompanied by an official high school transcript or GED and official college/university transcript if applicable;
- completion of eight hours of observation in a dental office
- completion of prerequisite courses; and
- college grade point average of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale.
Students who do not meet these criteria may ask for admission eligibility re-evaluation following successful completion of science and other specified courses required for the dental assisting program. Students currently enrolled in an accredited college or university other than the University of Southern Indiana must submit an official transcript of grades with their application.
Application forms for the dental assisting program may be obtained from the College of Nursing and Health Professions or via the Internet by going to the dental assisting home page under admission information, health.usi.edu/acadprog/dentasst/dentasst.htm. The completed form must be submitted to the dental assisting program by March 1 of the year the student wishes to enter the program. A complete set of official high school transcripts or GED and college/university transcripts, if applicable, must be submitted to the Office of Admission as part of the admissions procedure.
Applicants are required to visit a dental office which employs a dental assistant and observe the functions and responsibilities of a practicing dental assistant for a period of eight hours. A statement verifying this observation, signed by the dental assistant or dentist, is to be submitted along with other supporting documents by the application deadline date.