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Faculty/Program Webpages

Dental Assistant
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The Dental Assistant program is designed to prepare individuals for a career in a variety of oral healthcare settings. This may be as a clinical chairside assistant to a dentist or dental hygienist or as a non-clinical practice management assistant. The program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and upon completion the student will take national and state examinations leading to certification and licensure in dental assisting.

The course work includes content in general studies, bio-medical and dental sciences, clinical practices, and expanded functions allowed by the State of Minnesota.

Students will spend ten weeks in extramural clinical experiences in area dental offices.

The Dental Assistant program is now available through a hybrid delivery option.

Links to:
Dental Assistant, A.A.S.
Dental Assistant, Diploma
Dental Assistant Program Manual

Program Outcomes
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  • Demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills essential for obtaining employment in theoccupation of dental assisting.

  • Demonstrate competent clinical skills necessary for successful employment as a dental assistant.

  • Apply current concepts of infection control and occupational safety.

  • Apply principles of ethical reasoning, ethical decision making and professional responsibility as they pertain to the academic environment, patient care and practice management.

  • Practice interpersonal and communication skills to effectively interact with diverse population groups and other members of the healthcare team.

  • Demonstrate the knowledge necessary to become licensed in the state of Minnesota by successfully completing National and State Dental Assisting Board Examinations.

Special Program Requirements
  • The curriculum in the dental assistant program may expose students to hazardous materials, radiation and /or infectious diseases. Students will be provided with information through education and program policies to protect themselves and their patients from harm. Students will be expected to utilize appropriate safety precautions in the classroom, laboratory and clinic. Program policies are available on request, and are located in the program manual.

  • Minnesota Law requires any individual having contact with patients to complete a Minnesota Human Services background study prior to starting the clinical experience. An individual may be disqualified from having patient contact and would not be permitted to participate in the clinical experience. Contact the Minnesota Board of Dentistry and the Minnesota Department of Human Services with any questions.

Prerequisites for Spring Semester
  • Currently certified in CPR; American Heart Association Healthcare Provider or American Red Cross Professional Rescuer.

  • Hepatitis B vaccination, and documentation of tuberculosis testing.

  • Completion of Fall semester courses with grade of C or better.

Graduation Requirements
  • The cumulative grade point average (GPA) of credits attempted and completed at Minnesota West must be at least 2.0.

  • All Dental Assistant program courses must be completed with at least a C.

  • Students must complete at least 25% of their credits at Minnesota West.


The Dental Assistant Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.

On September 8-9, 2016, the Minnesota West Dental Assistant program will be hosting representatives from the Commission on Dental Accreditation for an on campus site visit as part of the seven year cycle of accreditation. The Commission provides an opportunity for third party comment with respect to the programs scheduled for review. Comments must be signed, and signatures will be removed from comments prior to forwarding them to the program. Comments must pertain only to the standards for the particular program or policies and procedures used in the Commission’s accreditation process. Third party comments are due in the Commission’s office no later than 60 days prior to the site visit, which would be July 8, 2016.

A copy of the appropriate accreditation standards and/or the Commission’s policy on third-party comments may be obtained by contacting the Commission.

Commission on Dental Accreditation
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
800-621-8099 extension 4653

Career Information

Dental Assistants perform a variety of tasks:dental 3

  • Work closely with dentists to examine and treat patients.

  • Make patients as comfortable as possible in the dental chair and provide patient education.

  • Record exam and treatment information in patients’ charts.

  • Sterilize instruments and prepare tray set ups.

Needed Skills: Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, ability to work as part of a team and general computer knowledge.

Future Demand: This career is high growth compared to other careers. About 1,310 new Dental Assistants are needed to meet market demand between 2012-2022.

Median Wage: $18.15/hr (

How to Apply
  • Complete the Minnesota West online application.

  • Submit the $20 non-refundable application fee.

  • Submit an official high school transcript or GED and/or transcripts from other post-secondary schools are required.

Teresa Noyes, Dental Assistant faculty