The Minneapolis Community and Technical College campus will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5 for Labor Day.

Educational Programs

Dental Assistant


Program description

Become a valuable part of a dental office with MCTC’s accredited Dental Assistant Program. Whether you are new to the field, currently work in a dental office and want to become a Dental Assistant or you are a Dental Assistant seeking an expanded functions certificate, MCTC provides the training you need.

Program start and location

Students are accepted into the Dental Support Personnel certificate program each semester.

Please Note: Not all courses are offered each semester. Students are accepted into the Dental Assistant evening diploma program fall semester only. Students are accepted into the Expanded Functions Dental Assistant certificate program spring semester only.

Degree options and requirements 

Please select the award below to view the degree options and requirements in the college catalog.

Dental Assistant Diploma—39 credits
Dental Office Support Personnel Certificate—17 credits
DA: Expanded Functions Certificate—16 credits

What you will learn

  • The Dental Assistant program will increase your knowledge to work chairside with the dentist and his or her patients, perform a variety of patient cares, provide assistance within the business office and/or complete laboratory duties.
  • Dental Assistant coursework includes basic and dental sciences, dental materials, chairside assisting, radiology, Minnesota expanded functions and clinical experience. The goal is to ensure you will be an indispensable member of a dental health team.
  • The Dental Assistant program’s classroom, preclinical and clinical experiences will prepare you to take the Certification Examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the Licensure and Jurisprudence Examinations offered by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry.
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  • The Dental Office Support Personnel Certificate is a one-semester program that will prepare you to work in dental offices and clinics providing support to other credentialed dental personnel and/or office staff.
  • The Dental Office Support Personnel Certificate program introduces you to common dental terms, equipment and health/safety issues.
  • The Expanded Functions Dental Assistant certificate program provides training in order to provide direct patient care in general or specialty dental offices.
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Points of pride

  • Minnesota’s only evening program for individuals employed in a dental office who wish to become certified and/or licensed dental assistants.
  • The program’s classroom, preclinical and clinical experiences prepare students to take the Certification Examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board and the Registration Examination offered by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry.
  • The Dental Office Support Personnel certificate is the only entry into the dental assistant career field—and the only program of its kind in Minnesota.
  • The Dental Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA), and approved by the Minnesota State Board of Dentistry.

Where you could work

  • Public and/or private dental offices
  • Single- or multiple-provider dental clinics
  • General or specialty dental offices
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  • Dental laboratory
  • Dental insurance companies
  • Dental supply companies
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Potential job titles

  • Certified Dental Assistant
  • Licensed Dental Assistant
  • Dental Office Receptionist
  • Dental Laboratory Technician

Occupational Outlook

Career opportunities for dental assistants have been considered excellent in recent years. According to the U.S. Government's Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field has been projected to grow steadily through 2018. Long-term prospects are solid, given such factors as the expanding and aging U.S. population, a heightened focus on preventative dental care, and increasing workloads for dentists (which will drive a need to hire assistants to perform routine tasks).

Beyond-the-classroom opportunities

Students regularly participate in Give Kids a Smile, a program coordinated and led by the Minnesota Dental Association in which volunteers provide free dental care to children from low-income families. Many also volunteer for Twin Cities-area charitable organizations such as Sharing and Caring Hands and the Union Gospel Mission.


This program is part of the Academy of Nursing, Counseling and Allied Healthcare.

Additional resources

Articulation agreements

Common Course Outlines

Gainful employment reports

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"Initiatives like these are important for our region's economic success,” offers Eric Muschler, program officer at the McKnight Foundation, which helps fund both programs. “We're heading toward a labor shortage over the next 15 years as baby boomers retire, so training qualified workers in competitive sectors is crucial to the region's future.”

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