College of the
Health Occupations

Dental Assisting

Dental Images
Dental Assisting Program
Thank you for your interest in the College of the Redwoods Dental Assisting Program.  Our program will prepare you for a rewarding and exciting career that offers many advantages and opportunities.  The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and approved by the California Board of Dental Examiners.  It is a ten month full-time or two year part-time program beginning in the fall semester. 
Graduates of the program qualify to take the Dental Board of California written and practical examination for state licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) written examination.  Upon graduation students are awarded a Certificate of Achievement from the College of the Redwoods as well as certificates in California Radiation Safety, Pit and Fissure Sealant and Coronal Polish certificate that is validated at the time of licensure as a Registered Dental Assistant.

Dental Assisting Gainful Employment

Dental Assisting Program Brochure (PDF)

Program Information

  • Why Dental Assisting?
  • Duties of the RDA
  • Career Opportunities
  • The Curriculum
  • Dental Assisting Certificates and Degrees
  • Program Costs
  • Admission Requirements
  • Application Procedure
  • Program Requirements
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Meet the Faculty
  • Other Resources

RDA exam pass rates

Why Dental Assisting?

The demand for dental assistants has never been greater.  According to the US Department of Labor, employment in the dental assisting profession is expected to grow 29 percent from 2006 to 2016.  In fact, dental assistants are expected to be among the fastest growing occupation over the 2006 to 2016 projection period.

The duties of a dental assistant are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office.  As a dental assistant you will perform a variety of tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. 

Dental assisting offers good earning opportunities, excellent working conditions and the personal satisfaction of knowing you?re helping someone by providing a valuable health service.  Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental team.

If you like working with people, enjoy working with your hands as well as your mind and want a career with responsibility, dental assisting could be for you. 

Duties of the RDA

A dental assistant is a valuable member of the dental office whose responsibilities include a variety of duties.  Specific duties may include:

  • transferring of instruments while providing oral evacuation and air/water supply to the dentist
  • mixing a variety of dental materials and applying intraorally
  • sizing, forming, applying and removing intraoral devices
  • exposing, developing and mounting x-rays
  • managing patient care before, during and after dental treatment
  • taking preliminary impressions and pouring study models
  • recording medical/dental histories and treatment
  • taking and recording patient vital signs
  • performing lab procedures and fabricating dental appliances
  • disinfecting, sterilizing and performing infection control procedures
  • polishing, flossing and providing oral health instructions to patients
  • scheduling appointments and preparing insurance forms
  • organizing and maintaining inventory

Career Opportunities

The College of the Redwoods Dental Assisting Program will prepare you for a rewarding and exciting career that offers many opportunities for employment.  Many dental practices employ two or more dental assistants and employment opportunities in this field are excellent. Most of our graduates find employment before or within weeks of graduation.
Some dental assistants become office managers, dental-assisting instructors, dental product sales representatives, or dental lab technicians. Others go back to school to become dental hygienists.  And others continue their education as a dental assistant by expanding their scope of practice and earning potential by obtaining additional licenses, such as an RDAEF.

For many, the dental assisting career provides basic training and experience and serves as a stepping stone to more highly skilled and higher paying jobs.

Career opportunities are available in a wide variety of practice settings including:

  • Solo dental practices (practices with only one dentist)
  • Group practices (practices with two or more dentists)
  • Specialty practices, such as oral and maxillofacial surgery (removal of teeth and correction of facial deformities), orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics (straightening teeth with braces or other appliances), endodonics (root canal treatment), periodontics (treatment of gum problems), prosthodontics (replacement of lost teeth) and pediatric dentistry (treatment of children)
  • Public health dentistry, including settings such as schools and clinics which focus on the prevention of dental problems within entire communities
  • Hospital dental clinics assisting dentists in the treatment of bedridden patients
  • Dental school clinics, assist dental students as they learn to perform dental procedures


Our program curriculum is designed to provide the students with the technical knowledge, manual skills, communication skills, and positive attitudes required to be a successful dental assistant and function as an integral member of the dental team.  Coursework includes general and specialty dentistry, chairside procedures, radiography, laboratory procedures, manipulation of materials, and front office duties.

Academic courses are enhanced by practical hands-on experiences.  At the College of the Redwoods Dental Assisting Program students are given a unique learning opportunity by training in our fully equipped on-site Dental Health Center clinic as well as formal clinical internships in local dental practices and clinics. 

Program Costs

The total fees of the Dental Assisting Program are approximately $3,030.00.  The College of the Redwoods has a variety of financial aid options and scholarship opportunities for qualifying students.

Admission Requirements

  • Official High School Transcripts showing proof of Graduation, GED or its equivalent
  • Physical and emotional health

Application Procedure

  • All new students are required to submit an application to College of the Redwoods.
  • Take English and Math assessment tests.  Drop-in testing is available at the Academic Support Center (ASC). For more information please visit Assessment Services.
  • The Dental Assisting Program requires that you complete a separate Dental Assisting Program Application (see below). Complete the application and mail or deliver to:
    Hillary Reed, Program Director,
    College of the Redwoods Dental Assisting Program,
    7351 Tompkins Hill Road, Eureka, CA  95501.
  • After receiving acceptance notification you may register for classes.  WebAdvisor (Online Registration) or in person at Admissions and Record.

The Dental Assisting Program begins in the fall semester.  Applications are accepted anytime during the school year for the following fall semester, however class is limited.  Eligible applicants will be selected for enrollment based on the date the completed application is received.  After the class has filled other eligible applicants will be placed on an alternate list that will be maintained until the first week of instruction. Reapplication must be made for the following year when no space is available.

Program Requirements

  • A physical examination must be completed within one month of entering the program. [ Form (PDF) ]
  • A current CPR certification is required before clinic begins.
  • Attend a mandatory orientation in August.
  • Students are required to take a Speech class (Interpersonal Communication or Public Speaking) and Nutrition.

Other Resources

  • www.dentalassistant.org - American Dental Assistants Association ? The oldest, largest group representing professional dental assistants.
  • www.cda.org - California Dental Association ? Another good resource for careers in dentistry.
  • www.dbc.ca.gov - Dental Board of California ? Examines and licenses California dental auxiliaries and advises the Dental Board of California on auxiliary issues.
  • www.ada.org - American Dental Association ? Good resource for careers in dentistry.
  • www.danb.org - Dental Assisting National Board, Inc ? Administers the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam.  The national certification and credentialing agency for dental assistants.
  • www.cdaaweb.org - California Dental Assistant Association ? Advances and enhances the profession of dental assisting.
  • www.hdnds.org - Humboldt Del Norte Dental Society ? Northcoast dental information homepage.
  • www.dentaljobs.net/default.asp - Provides a listing of jobs and information for all dental professionals.
  • http://dentistry.ucsf.edu/ - University of California San Francisco ? continuing dental education information.


Dental Assisting offers the following degrees:

Click here for Degrees

Dental Assisting Program Packet, Application,
and Application Instructions

To View and/or print Program Packets you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. 
CLICK HERE for free download

7351 Tompkins Hill Road
Eureka, CA 95501

707 476.4214
FAX: 707 476.4419