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Allied Health

Dental Education






During the dental assisting program, students may be exposed to hazardous materials, bloodborne pathogens, infectious diseases and ionizing radiation. Program policies are in place to protect the student and patient from harm. The curriculum provides specific instruction on taking standard precautions; wearing gloves, masks, goggles and protective clothing to protect from infectious diseases. Students also follow safety procedures to minimize the risk associated with the use of x-ray machines.
3450 | Dental Assistant

Admission is once each year in the fall term. Application packets will be accepted beginning the second week in January until the second Friday in April. This is a limited access program.

Occupational Certificate

Description of Program:

The vocational certificate in Dental Assistant curriculum prepares you to be versatile members of the dental health team who work alongside the dentist. You will be expected to master theoretical, practical and clinical skills including dental basic sciences, dental radiographic techniques, dental materials, sterilization and disease control, chair side assisting, office management, dental specialties and expanded duties. Upon successful completion of the Dental Assistant Program, you will receive certification in expanded duties and orthodontic assisting.

Application Requirements:

  1. Verification from a licensed dentist substantiating completion of at least 16 hours of observation, or work experience.
  2. College Entrance Testing (SFSC Testing Center is in Building B, Room 255; 863-784-7214 or 863-784-7114):
    1. You must document proof of occupational placement testing with minimum scores from any combination of the following:
      1. TABE
         a. Math: 10
         b. Reading: 10
         c. Language: 10
      2. CPT  
         a. Reading: 83
         b. Sentence Skills: 83
         c. Elementary Algebra: 72
      3. ACT  
         a. Reading: 18
         b. Writing: 17
         c. Math 19
      4. SAT  
         a. Verbal: 440
         b. Math: 440
    2. Passed Freshman English 1, and/or Beginning Algebra, with a C or higher ....OR....
    3. Have an A.A. or higher.
  3. Demonstrate competency in basic computer skills in one of four ways: 
    1. A passing grade in a computer course on a high school transcript.
    2. A grade of C or higher in a computer course at the college level.
    3. Introduction to Microcomputers using Windows during the Dental Assistant Program.
    4. Verified experiential credit.
  4. You must complete a Dental Assistant Program application for admission to the program.

Admission Procedures:

You are responsible for following the admissions procedures and for ensuring that their records are complete in the Admissions Office. No application will be considered unless it is complete.

  1. The following should be submitted to the college Admissions Office prior to applying to the program:
    1. Completed college application.
    2. Official high school/GED transcript.
    3. Official transcript from each college attended for credit courses.
    4. College placement test scores.
  2. Submit the following to the Limited Enrollment Program advisor (Building B) when applying to the program: 
    1. An application for the Dental Assistant Program (applications are available in January).
    2. Verification from a licensed dentist or dental hygienist, substantiating completion of at least 16 hours of observation, volunteer service, or work experience.

Selection Criteria:

The following are specific criteria that will be used when selecting students for the Dental Assistant Program:

  1. GED, high school diploma, or college degree or minimum of TABE scores: Math - 10; Reading - 10, and Language - 10
  2. Documentation of residence in Highlands, DeSoto, Hardee, or Polk county for one year immediately prior to the time of application.
  3. Verification from a licensed dentist, substantiating completion of at least 16 hours of observation, or work experience.

Selection Process:

  1. If you meet the minimum application requirements, you will be considered for admission into the program.
  2. This is a limited access program and only twelve students are accepted each academic year beginning in August. Applicants are accepted based on date completed applications are received.
  3. In cases where all credentials are equal, the following criteria will be used in the noted sequence to determine if you will admitted into the program:
    1. previous degree(s).
    2. completion of Freshman English I and/or Fundamentals of Speech Communication.
    3. date of receiving application
  4. You may be notified of acceptance into, or rejection from, the fall class will occur during late May, early June.

Upon notification of admission, you are required to complete the following prior to the start of the fall term:

  1. Physical health exam and a record of immunizations from a licensed physician or nurse practitioner, and a statement of satisfactory dental health from a licensed dentist (form to be provided upon notification of admission.
  2. Florida Department of Law Enforcement fingerprinting will be scheduled one week before classes begin).

NOTE: Failure to complete these requirements will result in loss of eligibility for admission to the program.

Advanced Standing:

If you apply to SFSC's Dental Assistant Program and have attended a Dental Assistant Program at an accredited community college or university in the state of Florida, you may be admitted to the Dental Assistant Program with advanced standing credit. Dental Assistant courses with DES prefixes and the last three digits are automatically transferable. The Dental Assistant Program Director determines if the course or courses (whether from a state of Florida Dental Assistant Program or an out of state Dental Assistant Program) are the same in content and credit hour(s) as those offered at SFSC. A grade of C or higher must be earned for each course equivalent.

General Information:

  1. SFSC reserves the right to deny admission to you if you lack required qualifications for the Dental Assistant Program.
  2. You must reapply if they wish to be considered for a subsequent class. Each class is selected from the new applicant pool.
  3. The college adheres to federal and state laws controlling equal access/equal opportunity.
  4. If you have excessive absences, you will be dropped from the program (excessive absences are defined as being absent from 10 percent or more scheduled class contact hours with a grade average less than 75 percent, or being absent from 15 percent or more scheduled class contact hours regardless of the grade).
  5. If you have life or health conditions that might hinder attendance, you may wish to consider another program or delay application until a strong commitment to attendance can be made.
  6. An official criminal history background check is required for entry into the Dental Assistant Program. Please be aware that some providers of clinical experience will not allow individuals with certain types of criminal history into their facilities. This may be cause for denial into the program, because such individuals would not be able to successfully complete clinical portions of the Dental Assistant Program.

Academic Requirements:

  1. You are expected to be punctual in attending every lecture, laboratory, clinical session, and off campus rotation. If you have excessive absences, you will be dropped from the program.
  2. You must maintain a 70 percent in each and every dental assistant course. Less than 70 percent will result in being dropped from the program.

Length: 1230 contact hours / 41 occupational credits


Fall Term (Weeks 1-16)
  DES 0025 Preclinical Orientation I   40
  DES 0025L Preclinical Orientation I Lab   30
  DES 0021 Orofacial and Dental Anatomy   48
  DEA 0205 Dental Radiographic Techniques   32
  DEA 0205L Dental Radiographic Techniques Lab   48
  DES 0602 Office Emergencies   32
  DES 0804 Introduction to Clinical Procedures   32
  DES 0804L Introduction to Clinical Procedures Lab   48
  DES 0830 Expanded Functions I   20
  DES 0830L Expanded Functions I Lab   16
  DES 0844 Preventive Dentistry   36
Spring Term (Weeks 17-32)
  DEA 0026 Preclinical Orientation II   40
  DEA 0026L Preclinical Orientation II Lab   30
  DEA 0130 Allied Dental Theory   64
  DEA 0800 Clinical Practice I   32
  DEA 0800L Clinical Practice I Lab   216
  DES 0053 Nitrous Oxide Monitoring   32
* DEA 0103 Elements of Dental Materials   30
  DES 0103L Elements of Dental Materials Lab   30
  DES 0831L Expanded Functions II Lab   24
Summer Term (Weeks 33-45)
  DEA 0801 Clinical Practice II   24
  DEA 0801L Clinical Practice II Lab   246
  DEA 0931 Orthodontics for Dental Auxiliary   32
  DES 0501 Dental Office Management   48

* Articulates with dental hygiene program if you are accepted into the dental hygiene program within three years of successfully graduating from the dental assistant program.
Gainful Employment Disclosure


Award Year 2010-2011    2011-2012
Students Completing Program* 0 8
Program Costs:  
  Tuition and Fees $4,829.10 $5,127.40
  Books and Supplies $2,699.00 $2,699.00
  Total $7,528.10 $7,826.40
Debt at Program Completion:  
  Median of Federal Loans $0.00 $0.00
  Median of Private Loans $0.00 $0.00
Program Completion in Normal Time:  
  Normal Program Length 16 months 16 months
  Students Completing in Normal Time NA 87.50%
Job Placement Rate for Completers: NA 86%
NA - Data Not Available  
* - Completers data based on fiscal year (July 1 - June 30)