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Dental Assisting

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About the Program

How does the UNC Dental Assisting Program differ from the programs offered at local community colleges?

Like the dental assisting programs offered at local community colleges, the UNC Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. The courses and clinical experiences offered are similar in scope and depth. Most community college programs begin in the fall, graduating their students in July of the following year. The UNC Dental Assisting Program begins with a six-week summer session making it possible for our students to graduate in May each year. Clinical experiences are obtained within the specialty clinics of the UNC School of Dentistry in addition to externship assignments in local dental offices and public health clinics.

How long is the program?

The Dental Assisting Program is ten months in length.

When do classes begin each year?

Classes begin at the end of June each year for a six-week summer session. The summer session is followed by fall and spring semesters.

How many are admitted?

The maximum enrollment is 24 students.

Do I need any prerequisite courses?

No prerequisites or entrance examinations are required for enrollment.

Can I live on campus while I'm enrolled in the dental assisting program?

Campus housing is available to students enrolled in the dental assisting program.

How much will it cost to attend?

The program can be completed for approximately $4300, excluding the additional costs of room and board for students who choose to live on campus.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available through the University once admission has been confirmed. Students are also eligible to apply for numerous professional loans and scholarships once they are enrolled.

Can I attend school and work part-time?

The academic requirements for successful completion of the dental assisting program are rigorous. It is Monday through Friday approximately 40 hours per week. However, many of our students find that they can work part-time while attending classes. Class and clinic schedules are distributed at the beginning of each semester so that students can plan their work schedules for each semester.

What is the job placement rate for program graduates?

Given the great demand for trained dental assistants, most program graduates have a wide choice of job opportunities. Many students begin the interviewing process before graduation.


How do I apply?

Applicants must have a completed file for admission consideration. A completed file consists of a completed application form, official high school and college transcripts, and $50.00 application processing fee. Transcripts must indicate a 'C' or better or 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for consideration.

When is the deadline date?

The application deadline date is April 1st of each year, however applications received after that date will be considered until the class is full. (Please note: 90% of the seats are typically filled prior to the April 1st deadline.)

What is the "early admission" process?

Early Admission can be granted to selected applicants who have outstanding qualifications for admission. Applicants that have a completed application on file by November 1st of each year will be considered by the Admissions Committee for early admission. If an applicant does not qualify for early admission, their application will be considered with other applicants during the regular admission cycles that begin in January of each year.

How are students selected to fill the class?

The Admission Committee selects applicants with the highest potential for success. In considering an applicant’s qualifications, the Admissions Committee takes into consideration high school and college grade point averages, attempted and completed post-secondary coursework, work experience, knowledge of the dental profession and community service. Qualified applicants are admitted on a rolling admissions cycle. Less qualified applicants may be reconsidered at the next admission cycle. The class is filled when the committee has recommended 24 candidates to the Chair of the Admissions and Recruitment Committee. The Chair will notify the candidates of their admission and request a letter of intention and a non-refundable deposit to hold their place in the incoming class.

When will I be notified of acceptance?

Candidates will be notified of their acceptance by written notification from the Chair of the Admission and Recruitment Committee at the completion of each admissions cycle. Letters are generally mailed out in December, February and April each year.

What can I do to enhance my qualifications?

Candidates with higher grade point averages are considered to be the best qualified. Applicants with a high school GPA between 2.5 – 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale are encouraged to take general education courses at the post-secondary level to increase their academic qualifications. Suggested courses include English, biology, anatomy and physiology, psychology and public speaking. Letters of recommendation from long-term employers will also be considered when evaluating an applicant’s overall competitiveness.

Are there any required courses for admission?

There are no prerequisite courses for admission consideration.

If I have only taken a few college courses do you need to include my college transcript to apply?

Applicants that have attended college should submit these transcripts along with those from high school.

Dental Assisting as a Career Choice

What is the salary range for dental assistants in North Carolina?

Salaries vary according to job location and need in the area. Starting salaries in the Research Triangle area average around $ 16.00/hr. Benefit packages vary from one employer to another.

What types of job opportunities are available?

Many job opportunities are available in general dentistry, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics and oral surgery. Dental assistants are also employed by public health departments, hospitals and dental schools.

What is a Certified Dental Assistant?

A dental assistant becomes Certified after passing the Dental Assisting National Board Exam. This is a multiple-choice examination that contains sections in chairside assisting, infection control and radiology. In order to maintain Certification, the assistant must complete twelve hours of continuing education each year.

Our students receive a certificate as a Dental Assistant II, which permits them to perform legal, delegable functions in North Carolina, including: expose radiographs, make preliminary impressions, make night guard vital bleaching trays, and selective coronal polishing.

Transferring to Dental Hygiene

Will courses in dental assisting transfer to dental hygiene?

Course transfer policies are determined by each dental hygiene program. Students who plan to continue their studies should contact the institution to which they are transferring to ask about their specific policies with regard to dental assisting courses. All dental hygiene programs require pre-requisite courses in English, chemistry, biology, sociology and psychology.

Will being a graduate of an accredited dental assisting program enhance my qualifications for admission to dental hygiene?

Graduation from an accredited dental assisting program may help improve qualifications for admission to a dental hygiene program if the student performs well academically, demonstrates ability to work as a team member, and shows enthusiasm in the field of dentistry.