A dental assistant is an important member of an efficient dental team providing valuable service to both the team members and the patient. An assistant aids and anticipates the needs of a dentist in intra-oral procedures, takes X-rays, prepares lab work, is responsible for disinfection/sterilization protocols, and can also perform office administration duties.

Elgin Community College's clinical dental assisting certificate program prepares students for this active role in dentistry through classroom, laboratory, and hands-on experiences in our high-tech, extraordinary facilities. Clinical practice begins in the final semester and continues for 336 hours in area general practice and specialty dental offices. Highly experienced dental professionals teach and supervise all on- and off-campus activities.

The ECC Dental Assisting Program has achieved the distinction of being accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA). Accreditation allows ECC students to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination to become certified dental assistants (CDA) as they complete the program. Certification is recognized throughout the country as a high level of professional competence.

In addition to the clinical dental assisting certificate, current students and currently working assistants are eligible take the DEA 113 Special Projects in Dental Assisting Special Projects class for expanded functions training in coronal polishing and pit and fissure sealants.

Accreditation

The Clinical Dental Assisting Program is accredited by:
Commission on Dental Accreditation, American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60611-2678
(800) 621-8099
ada.org/en/coda

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must have completed one of the following within the last 5 years:

  • High School GPA of 3.0 or higher (unweighted, based on at least 6 semesters excluding summer)
  • ACT Reading Score of 19 or higher
  • SAT/PSAT Reading Score of 480 or higher
  • McCann Reading Placement Score of 95 or higher
  • PSB-HOA test with a 12% or higher in each of the categories
  • HPE 112 with a grade of C or better (within 2 attempts)
  • Completion of Healthcare Bridge class and pass into/or be eligible to enter ESL 017, ABE 029, ASE 030 or higher ESL coursework
  • GED Score of 165 or higher

Note: Applicants who attempt but do not meet these criteria may be placed in an ICAPS-supported program option.

Qualified applicants from other districts may be considered if space is available. Go to Joint Agreements to learn more.

Admission Procedures

Admission to the program is selective.  For more information, please see admission requirements.

Program Requirements

Students must complete all required courses with grades of C or better to be eligible for graduation. Students must provide their own uniforms, safety glasses, and transportation to and from all clinical sites.

Policies and Procedures

Students admitted to the Dental Assisting Program may be required to attend an orientation before dental assisting classes begin.

Students applying to the Dental Assisting Program must complete a criminal background check and drug testing upon admission into the program. Students demonstrating a positive background check and/or positive drug screening will be denied admission to any health professions program.

Before attending clinical training, students must have the following documentation on file: negative drug test results, negative background check, completed medical form which includes proof of immunizations/titer results, proof of health insurance coverage, and proof of CPR certification.

Health professions students will be required to update their drug test, TB test/TB survey, and flu vaccine information on an annual basis. Students demonstrating a positive drug test will be dismissed from the health professions division. The standards, policies, and procedures of the Dental Assisting Program are published in the dental assisting student handbook. 

  • Accurately record patient data
  • Demonstrate dental aseptic techniques without cross contamination
  • Assist chair-side for a variety of dental procedures
  • Demonstrate proper use of dental instruments and 4-handed dentistry techniques
  • Properly mix dental materials
  • Define current dental terminology
  • Display professional ethics in all areas of the dental office
  • Demonstrate professional communication skills with regard to patients and the dental team

Clinical Dental Assisting - Vocational Specialist

Plan of Study Grid
First SemesterCredit Hours
DEA 101 Dental Assisting I 3
DEA 103 Dental Materials I 3
DEA 106 Dental Aseptic Techniques 3.5
DEA 108 Chairside Dental Assisting I 3
BUS 101
Business Communications I
or English Composition I
3
CMS 101 Fundamentals of Speech 3
 Total18.5
Second Semester
DEA 107 Dental Radiography 3
DEA 111 Dental Assisting II 3
DEA 118 Dental Materials II 3
DEA 119 Dental Records and Communications 3
DEA 120 Chairside Dental Assisting II 3
 Total15
Third Semester
DEA 123 Clinical Practice I 4
DEA 124 Clinical Practice II 4
 Total8
 Program Total41.5

Dental Office Aide - Basic Vocational Specialist

Plan of Study Grid
First SemesterCredit Hours
DEA 101 Dental Assisting I 3
DEA 103 Dental Materials I 3
DEA 106 Dental Aseptic Techniques 3.5
DEA 108 Chairside Dental Assisting I 3
 Total12.5
 Program Total12.5

Preclinical Dental Assisting - Basic Vocational Specialist

The awarding of this certificate is contingent upon the student first earning the Basic Vocational Specialist certificate in dental office aide.

Plan of Study Grid
Second SemesterCredit Hours
DEA 107 Dental Radiography 3
DEA 111 Dental Assisting II 3
DEA 118 Dental Materials II 3
DEA 119 Dental Records and Communications 3
DEA 120 Chairside Dental Assisting II 3
 Total15
 Program Total15

All DEA courses numbered 100 and above may be applied to the major field and elective requirement in the Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees. 

Special Note: A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB‑HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting (DEA) program.

DEA 101 Dental Assisting I (3)(2,2)

Introductory course to dental assisting. Tooth anatomy, both primary and permanent teeth, are included as well as a survey of head and neck anatomy. Bones, muscles, glands, blood vessels and nerves are studied as they relate to the functional dentition and the jaw joint. Fetal development of the face is included. A limited microbiology section is also included. The lab includes crown carving, myofunctional theories and cephalometric tracings. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $455 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into DEA program

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 103 Dental Materials I (3)(2,2)

This course deals with the chemical, physical and mechanical concepts of gypsum, hydrocolloids, dental filling materials and periodontal packs. Emphasis will be placed on developing manipulative skills necessary to carry out laboratory and chairside procedures. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available (2 MTS) Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $606 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in DEA 101

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 106 Dental Aseptic Techniques (3.5)(2,3)

This course is designed for the dental assisting major and will cover methods used for disinfection, sterilization, prevention of crosscontamination and techniques used to prevent personnel infection. Heavy emphasis will be placed on the use of equipment and chemicals. Methods to sterilize individual groups of instruments will be studied. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available (2 MTS) Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $592 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in DEA 101

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 107 Dental Radiography (3)(2,2)

Techniques involved in exposing, processing and mounting dental x-rays. Two techniques are taught: the paralleling and the bisecting angle. Stress is placed upon radiation safety for the operator and patient. Anatomy of the bony structures radiographed as well as history and physics of radiography will be covered. All work will be completed on manikins. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $631 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in DEA 101 or consent of instructor

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 108 Chairside Dental Assisting I (3)(2,2)

Practical experience is given in chairside procedures of general dentistry. Procedures for tooth restoration and cleaning are covered. Skills taught include equipment use and care, aseptic techniques, charting, saliva control, instrument transfer, sharpening, and identification. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $511 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in DEA 101, DEA 103 and DEA 106

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 111 Dental Assisting II (3)(2,2)

Presents concepts of first aid, community dentistry, dental pathology, and pharmacology including: Diet and nutrition, fluoridation, and patient education. First aid as it applies to the dental office is also stressed. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available (2 MTS) Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $421 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in DEA 101

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 113 Special Projects in Dental Assisting (1)(0,2)

Remedial or advanced projects in either chairside assisting or dental radiography will be undertaken. Advanced projects in dental radiography include occlusal and oblique angle projections, pedodontic and extra oral techniques. Advanced projects in chairside assistance including six-handed, sit-down dentistry and chairside assisting for the dental specialties. Clinical evaluations and a project report will be required. Advanced work in dental biology can also be undertaken. Repeatable to three credits. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $157 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in DEA 111 or concurrent enrollment in DEA 111 or consent of instructor

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 118 Dental Materials II (3)(2,2)

This course is a continuation of Dental Materials I. Concepts applied to prosthetic dental impression materials are covered as well as acrylic materials and metals. Emphasis will be placed on manipulative techniques and their use in general dentistry. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available (2 MTS) Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $586 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in DEA 103

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 119 Dental Records and Communications (3)(2,2)

The policies and procedures for all dental office clinical and financial records are discussed. Compilation and recording of data, correspondence with responsible third parties, and filing and storage of records are included. Appointments, bookkeeping procedures, inventory control, telephone techniques, banking procedures, and financial arrangements are covered. Also included are: Interviewing skills, health and grooming, ethics, and history of dentistry. A major part of the course includes effective patient communication. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available (2 MT) Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $496 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into DEA program

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 120 Chairside Dental Assisting II (3)(2.5,1.5)

Indepth classroom and laboratory experiences in chairside dental assisting procedures for the specialties of dentistry. Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, and Periodontics will be emphasized. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Available (2 MTS) Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $481 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in DEA 101 and DEA 108

Semester(s) Offered: Fall and Spring

DEA 123 Clinical Practice I (4)(.5,10.5)

Application of theories and skills taught in the classroom to clinical surroundings of two general practice offices. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $528 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Prerequisite:Grade of C or better in DEA 107 and DEA 120 or; (2) consent of instructor

Semester(s) Offered: Fall, Spring and Summer

DEA 124 Clinical Practice II (4)(.5,10.5)

Application of theories and skills taught in the classroom and lab to the clinical surroundings of two or three different specialties. Student affiliations can include: oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics and pediatric dentistry. (1.2) Proficiency Credit Not Available Pass/No Credit Not Available

Dental Assisting (DEA) program

SPECIAL NOTE: Explore the Dental Assisting (DEA) program and come to an information session

A criminal background check, drug test, and appropriate PSB-HOA test scores are required for the Dental Assisting Program. For more information please refer to Dental Assisting Program Information.

In-District Tuition/Fees: $528 (effective 2022/23 academic year)

In-district tuition rates are subject to change based on Board approval.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in DEA 107 and DEA 120 or; (2) consent of instructor

Semester(s) Offered: Fall, Spring and Summer