Dental Assistant

The Dental Assistant (DA) program at Columbia Basin College will prepare graduates for work in dental offices, practices, and clinics as a vital member of the professional dental team. Dental Assistants are frontline healthcare professionals who provide chair-side care to patients while assisting dentists and dental hygienists in general dentistry and specialty dentistry settings. As trusted professionals, they help ensure patient safety and quality of care while performing valuable skills such as:

  • assisting dentists in all phases of patient treatment,
  • sterilizing instruments and preparing equipment for procedures,
  • providing nutritional counseling and patient education,
  • preparing dental insurance documents,
  • exposing and mounting dental radiographs,
  • fabricating oral trays and mouth guards,
  • placing sealants and provisional restorations,
  • assisting with sedation and local anesthesia,
  • applying fluoride,
  • performing coronal polishing, and
  • assisting in the management of dental offices.

    Students must apply to the Dental Assistant program and meet specific entrance criteria, including vaccinations, a national background check, and BLS CPR certification requirements.

    Upon completion of the CBC Dental Assistant One-Year Certificate program, students may continue their studies and earn an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting degree.

Application Process

The Dental Assistant program application is not yet available. The program will start each winter quarter beginning Winter 2025. Interested students are encouraged to begin prerequisite coursework now and check back regularly for the formal application.

College transcripts of applicants into the Dental Assisting program will be reviewed for the following courses:

  • HSCI 147 Medical Terminology (5 credits)
  • PSYC& 100 General Psychology (5 credits)
  • ENGL& 101, 102 or 235 (5 credits)
  • CMST& 101, 210, or 220 or CMST 260 (5 credits)

    Dental Assisting applications need to include a current copy the applicants American Heart Association BLS Provider CPR card or certificate.

Additional coursework is required for students that wish to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting degree. Applicant must complete the courses required for the one year certificate plus the courses noted below:

  • BIOL& 241 Anatomy & Physiology I w/ lab 
  • BIOL& 242 Anatomy & Physiology II w/ lab 
  • BIOL& 260 Microbiology w/ lab 
  • MATH& 146 Intro to Statistics
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National Background Search and Drug Screen

As part of the admission requirements for Health Science programs, applicants must successfully pass a criminal background check and drug screen prior to working with patients in clinical areas. The background check and drug screen are paid by the student and administered through a third party company, CastleBranch. In addition to the background check required by CBC, each clinical facility reserves the right to conduct its own criminal background check prior to allowing a student to enter its health care facilities for clinical participation.

Certain criminal convictions, pending charges, or negative actions may automatically disqualify a person from having unsupervised access to vulnerable adults, juveniles and children. Clinical facilities reserve the right to accept or decline a student’s placement in its facility. 

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Program Outcomes


1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of dental terminology and the dental sciences.

2. Respond responsive to the needs of dental providers in providing quality graduates who are certified, properly trained, and value continuing education.

3. Students will be safe, competent, and professional entry- level dental assistants.

4. Employ appropriate ethical, professional and respectful values while providing care to diverse populations in the dental setting.

5. Function as an effective, efficient, and professional member of the dental team.

6. Perform a variety of chairside clinical supportive treatments.

7. Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing with the dental team members and patients.

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Students walking around CBC's Pasco campus