Pearl River Community College

Dental Assisting

Program Information

Location(s) of Program: Forrest County Center

Brief Description of Program: We believe that learning opens doors for the dental assistant; doors to increased pay, professional recognition, advanced career opportunities, and a matchless feeling of personal accomplishment. The Dental Assistant Program is a 12-month course of study, beginning in the Fall and ends in the Summer. There are two degree options: Technical Degree or Associate of Applied Science. Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam will be taken in 3 parts: Infection Control, Radiology and General Chairside. Once all three exams are passed, and course curriculum completed with a “C” average, student becomes a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Essential Requirements of a person in this career field: In Mississippi, a dental assistant can be trained in the dental office and certification is not required. However, in 43 other states the CDA credential is required to have this healthcare career. We stress the importance of this credential and encourage all students to take the Dental Assisting National Board exams to achieve this goal. We want our students to be able to continue their healthcare career in another state if they may have to move.

Instructor Contact Information for the Program:

Possible Careers in this Program: Dental Assisting as Clinical and Business, Dental Sales, Dental Office Management, Dental Insurance Records, Dental Lab Technician

What a student can expect from a career in this field: If you are a "hands-on" person, enjoy people, like fast-paced work, like variety, and enjoy the thought of helping people; then Dental Assisting might be for you.
Dental Assistants help a Dentist work on patients in a dental office or clinic. They take dental x-rays, make study models, help with dental procedures, do coronal polishes, apply sealants, and maintain infection control of dental operatory, instruments, and equipment. They calm patient's fears, maintain patient's dental records, make appointments, answer the telephone, and help with patient oral healthcare education.

Possible earnings of jobs in these career field: Dental assisting is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States.
In fact, the demand for dental assistants is expected to grow 31 percent between 2010 and 2020. Dentists are relying more and more on dental assistants, who need a combination of technical and interpersonal skills to perform a wide variety of tasks DANB CDAs earn a median salary of $2.01 more per hour than non-certified assistants. Median* Salary Per Hour $16.00 in the state of MS © 2012 Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.
* According to figures from the 2012 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mission of Program: Our DA program goal is to instill Confidence, train to be Competent, see to Completion of program as a Certified Dental Assistant and Encourage advance education in the dental field.

Goals of Program:

  1. To provide a firm foundation in dental science, procedures, materials, instrumentation and communication using the latest technology.
  2. To prepare students to complete the dental assisting program successfully.
  3. To prepare students to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board examinations and receive certification.
  4. To encourage professional advancement and continuing education.