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 assistants are important members of any dental care team. They’re often responsible for assisting with treatment procedures and administrative duties. This online training program can help you acquire the job-ready skills you need to get started. As part of your course, you’ll also prepare for the Radiation Health and Safety and Infection Control components of the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Exam.

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Course Objectives

This program is designed to:

  • Prepare for the Radiology and Infection Control portions of the Dental Assisting National Board
  • Identify of teeth and their functions, as well as the anatomy of the head and neck
  • Sterilization and disinfection techniques and infection prevention
  • Completing patient charting and take vital signs


  • Overview of the Dental Profession
    Introduction to the practice of dentistry
  • Dental Health and Disease
    Oral health and preventative techniques; etiology of dental disease
  • Anatomy and Physiology
    Basic human physiology, embryology and histology; head and neck anatomy
  • Infection Control
    Microbiology, infection control and managing hazardous materials
  • Basics of Dental Assisting
    Patient care, dental charting and pharmacology; anesthesia and sedation, chair-side assisting and dental instruments and tray setups
  • Radiology
    Producing and processing quality radiographs; extraoral and digital radiography
  • Dental Materials
    Dental cements, bases, liners, and bonding agents; restorative materials, dental dams, matrix, and wedges
  • Dental Assisting in the Specialty Practice
    Oral pathology and maxillofacial surgery; endodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and prosthodontics
  • Dental Office Management
    Records management; administrative techniques

Prerequisites and Requirements

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Registration and Enrollment

This course is 100% online. Start anytime.

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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

  • 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 national job growth of 7% projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Clinical dental assistants in San Diego County are capable of earning a higher-than-average salary. According to the BLS, the mean salary of a dental assistant in San Diego County is $44,820.

Clinical Dental Assistant FAQs

What Does a Clinical Dental Assistant Do?
While clinical dental assistant jobs will vary based on the dental office you work in within San Diego County or beyond, your typical duties may include:

  • Preparing patients for treatment
  • Sterilizing tools
  • Instructing patients on proper dental hygiene
  • Assisting the dentist during procedures
  • Keeping records of treatments
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Processing x-rays.

How Much Time Does It Take To Become a Clinical Dental Assistant?
Most clinical dental assistant training programs can be completed in one year or less, not including the time you may spend working in an externship or similar position to gain experience. In addition, you’ll need to gain the required two years of work experience to become certified.

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

What Kind of Hours Do Clinical Dental Assistants Work?
While most dental assistants work 40 hours per week, some do work part-time. Traditionally, you’ll work during the day, but you may be asked to work some evenings or weekends depending on your dental office.

Where Do Clinical Dental Assistants Work?
Almost all clinical dental assistants work in dental offices under the supervision of dentists, though some may find employment with government or physicians’ offices. You’ll be required to wear a surgical mask, safety goggles, gloves, and protective clothing while at work, and you’ll likely be on your feet for large portions of the day.

Is a Clinical Dental Assistant the Same as a Dental Hygienist?
No. A dental assistant directly supports a dentist with small, supervised jobs performed on patients’ teeth and administrative tasks in the office. A dental assistant can practice after earning a dental assistant training certificate. A dental hygienist must earn an associate degree in dental hygiene at minimum and will work one-on-one with patients with less supervision.

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