Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting

College of Alameda’s Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and by the United States Department of Education. Our program consists of two consecutive semesters (Fall & Spring) of full time study, and will prepare you to obtain your RDA (Registered Dental Assistant) and CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) licensing.

Dental assisting courses address the issues of patient dental care and oral health. The program includes California dental law, ethics, professionalism, infection control, head and neck anatomy, dental radiology, dental materials and chair-side skills. Fall semester courses introduce basic theory and chair-side skills, leading to more advanced studies during the spring semester, which include internship and advanced use of technology within dentistry.

From our courses you will learn to:

  • Develop critical thinking skills required to work in a dental setting.
  • Work successfully as a member of the dental team, working closely with the dentist and dental hygienist in a variety of dental settings.
  • Provide comprehensive dental assisting care to individuals from diverse socioeconomic, educational, and or cultural backgrounds.
  • Assume, if necessary, primary responsibility for the running of the back office, front office, insurance and/or financial aspects of the dental practice.
  • Assume responsibility for prevention of disease transmission in the work environment, and understand the importance of radiation safety.
  • Perform the dental assisting functions that are legally allowed in a safe and ethical manner.
  • Demonstrate professionalism, honesty and integrity, and a sense of responsibility for your ability to care for others and the community that you will serve.
  • Apply critical/cultural thinking to all aspects of the dental field.
  • Communicate in written and verbal form according to terminology of the dental field.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of cultural sensitivity within the field of dental assisting.
  • Demonstrate self-discipline to pursue with integrity the intellectual, professional legal, and ethical rigors of the dental profession.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) may be assessed using:

  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Review of collected data
  • Other methods

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges to disclose a variety of information for any financial aid eligible program that “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation”. The information provided in the link(s) below describes the graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information regarding gainful employment for the latest completed academic year (as of July 1). Full-time status is defined as a student that enrolls in 12 units for both the fall and the spring semesters of a given academic year.

This full-time curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of the American Dental Association Council on Dental Education for Dental Assistants. The program includes lecture and laboratory practice in the classroom. Clinical experience is required in the dental clinics of the University of California in San Francisco, as well as in private dental offices.

Students completing all required courses with a minimum grade point average of 75% (“C”) will earn a Certificate of Achievement and be qualified to take the Certification Examination of the DANB, the State of California RDA examinations, and will be prepared to assume the responsibilities of assisting the dentist in all phases of dentistry. The program requires 32 semester units in Dental Assisting, plus 9 semester units in other general education required courses totaling 41 units.

Graduates of our program go on to fill a variety of roles in and outside of the dental profession.

These include:

  • Registered dental assistant
  • Certified dental assistant
  • Registered dental assistant with extended functions
  • Oral surgery assistant
  • Certified orthodontic assistant
  • Office manager
  • Front office administrator
  • Insurance biller
  • Lab Technician

Admission is by special application directly to the Dental Assisting Department. Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent. All eligibility requirements including official transcripts must be completed at the time of application submission. Deadline for applications is April 1 of each year for admissions into the fall semester. Applicants will be notified by mail of acceptance into the Dental Assisting program. Applications received after April 1, will be accepted only on a space available basis.

Application requirements include:

  • Possession of a high school diploma or the equivalent prior submitting application to and admission into the program.
  • Official transcripts must be on file in the department
  • Current CPR and first aid certification
  • Physical and dental examination, negative TB and hepatitis test results are required to be submitted to the Dental Assisting Department prior to enrollment in the fall semester.
Faculty D.D.S. Advisors Dental Auxiliary
Carla Pegues, CDA, RDA, BA College of Alameda  

Dr. Barbara Galera


Nancy Hinojsa, RDA

Meeying Coffer, CDA,RDA,BA College of Alameda Karen Larson, D.D.S Gloria Zancanella, RDA
Renee Herold, CDA, RDA,BA College of Alameda Dr. Marianela Carter Lety Torres , RDA
Juanita Tyree, CDA, RDA,BA College of Alameda Joann Lagos, D.D.S. Edna Carpio, RDA

Alumni Success