Clinical dental assistant with child patient.
Online Clinical Dental Assistant Training
This course is 100% online   |   Start anytime

This online Ed2Go course, offered in cooperation with SDSU Global Campus, will help you gain the technical skills you need to begin working as a clinical dental assistant in any dental office.

Become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Online

Dental Assisting National Board Logo

Do you want to be an important member of a dental care team?

Dental assistants support the dentist during patient treatment procedures and handle administrative duties in the dental office. With SDSU Global Campus, you can train 100% online to gain the skills and nationally recognized certifications you need to begin a career as a dental assistant. Upon successful completion of this course, you’ll also receive vouchers to sit for the Anatomy, Morphology, and Physiology (AMP), Infection Control (ICE), and Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) portions of the Dental Assisting National Board examinations.

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Course Objectives

  • Gain real-world perspectives from experienced dental assistants.
  • Learn essential anatomy and physiology, preventive dentistry, patient care and communication, radiology, pharmacology, anesthesia, assisting in specialty practices, employment strategies, and much more.
  • Explore the basics of maintaining computerized clinical dental records using Dentrix Practice Management software.


  1. The Dental Profession
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Ethics for the Dental Assistant
  4. Basic Dental Sciences
  5. Dental Anatomy
  6. Oral Pathology
  7. Infection Control
  8. Hazardous Materials
  9. Caring for Exceptional Patients
  10. Pharmacology for the Dental Assistant
  11. Emergency Management
  12. Oral Health and Nutrition
  13. The Dental Office
  14. Dental Instruments
  15. Introduction to Chairside Assisting
  16. New Patients and Charting
  17. Introduction to Dentrix Learning Software (Optional)
  18. Anesthesia and Sedation
  19. Preventative Care
  20. Radiation Health Safety
  21. Extraoral and Digital Radiology 
  22. Dental Emergency Procedures and Amalgam Restorations 
  23. Composite Procedures and Laboratory Materials 
  24. Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics 
  25. Dental Specialties 
  26. Dental Implants and Fixed Prosthetics 
  27. Computerized Restorative Systems and Removable Prosthodontics 
  28. Cosmetic Dentistry 
  29. Dental Practice Management 
  30. Your Dental Career

Prerequisites and Requirements

There are no prerequisites to complete this course. However, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent to sit for national certification exams.

Registration and Enrollment

This course is 100% online. Start anytime.

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This program is eligible for tuition assistance through the Workforce Partnership.

San Diego Workforce Partnership

Meet Your Instructor

Cindy Lamkin
Cindy Lamkin has been employed in the dental field for over 20 years. She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in dental hygiene and holds Registered Dental Assistant and Registered Dental Hygienist credentials. In addition to practicing clinical hygiene, she has also worked in dental office administration and treatment coordination. Her career includes general dentistry, as well as specialty practices of periodontics, endodontics, pedodontics, and orthodontics.

Job Outlook for Clinical Dental Assistants in California

  • New data from workforce analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies found that in San Diego County, the demand for dental assistants is projected to grow by 16% over the next decade. This is more than double the BLS's projected national job growth of 7.7%.
  • Clinical dental assistants in San Diego County can earn an above-average salary according to the BLS, with a mean salary of $44,820.

Clinical Dental Assistant FAQs

What Does a Clinical Dental Assistant Do?
Your job as a clinical dental assistant will vary based on the state and dental office in which you work. Your typical duties may include getting patients ready for treatment, sterilizing dental tools, helping patients understand proper dental hygiene, supplying instruments to the dentist during procedures, processing x-rays, keeping records of treatments, and scheduling follow-up appointments.

How Long Will It Take Me To Become a Clinical Dental Assistant?
Most clinical dental assistant programs, like this online training program, can be completed in one year or less. This does not include the time you will spend working to gain experience in the field in an externship or similar position. There are also an additional two years of work experience required by the Dental Assisting National Board before you can become certified. However, please know that it is possible to work and earn a living while completing online training and preparing for certification.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Certified Dental Assistant?
To become a Certified Dental Assistant, you’ll need to pass the three components of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certification Exam and meet the work experience requirements of the DANB. The three components of the DANB Certificate Exam include Radiation Health and Safety, Infection Control, and General Chairside components. You’ll also need at least two years of work experience (or a minimum of 3,500 hours accrued over a two-to-four-year period).

What Hours Do Clinical Dental Assistants Work?
In most cases, dental assistants work a full-time schedule of 40 hours per week. However, there are some that work a part-time schedule. Most of your hours in this role will occur during the day, but some dental offices are open in the evenings and on weekends, so you may be asked to work some of these shifts.

Where Will I Work as a Clinical Dental Assistant?
You’ll most likely work in a dental office under the supervision of a dentist as a clinical dental assistant. There are also a few positions available for clinical dental assistants with the government or in physicians’ offices. In a dental assistant role, you’ll work very closely with dental hygienists. You’ll need to be prepared to be on your feet for large portions of the day and wear protective gear such as surgical masks, safety goggles, and gloves to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

What Is the Difference Between a Clinical and Administrative Dental Assistant?
Both of these positions are important parts of a well-functioning dental office. An administrative dental assistant will focus mainly on administrative and clerical tasks in the office, such as greeting patients, collecting patient information, and filing and organizing office records. A clinical dental assistant works with and supports dentists and dental hygienists with patient procedures, sterilizing dental tools, charting, taking vital signs, processing quality x-rays, and more.

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