Dental Assisting, Certificate

Program Code


Program Overview

The Dental Assisting program is an ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation program. Curriculum includes basic dental sciences and didactic theory in current concepts of dentistry. Students gain required clinical experience in the Santa Fe College Dental Clinic, the University Of Florida College Of Dentistry, and other institutional and private facilities. Program graduates are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Upon completion of the program, graduates are certified in all legally delegable expanded functions permitted by the Florida Board of Dentistry. Consistently, 100% of the students who complete the program are employed in the profession.

An educationally qualified dental assistant is responsible for working directly with a dentist during the provision of treatment to the patient. Tasks include seating patients, operatory maintenance, four-handed dentistry with the dentist during dental procedures, taking impressions of teeth for study models, polishing clinical crowns, exposing and developing X-rays, office management skills like scheduling patients, ordering supplies and more. There are many specialized roles available as a business assistant, patient coordinator, chair side assistant, expanded functions assistant and surgical or infection control assistant.

The Dental Assisting program admits students each fall semester. The program is three semesters (10 months) of classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction. The final semester includes classroom learning and a dental assisting internship. The program is based on a 35-40 hour week schedule.


The Dental Assisting program at SF is accredited by the American Dental Association.

Licensure and Certification

Successful completion of all certificate requirements may make you eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board. If you are a student who resides outside of Florida, or plan to relocate outside of Florida, Santa Fe College has made the determination that this degree program or curriculum only meets educational requirements for professional licensure in the state of Florida. The Dental Assisting National Board provides a ‘State Credential /Endorsement Chart' where you may reference certificate, licensure endorsements and training requirements per state. Please contact the Licensure board in your state to determine whether this program or curriculum will meet any licensure requirements.

The following requirements must be met in order to receive an application to the Program:

  1. Applicants with College English and Math: ensure all transcripts are on file with Santa Fe College at least 2 weeks prior to the application deadline.
  2. Applicants without College English and Math: Take the PERT test or submit ACT or SAT scores.
    • Minimum PERT scores: Reading 106; Writing 103; Math 114
    • Minimum ACT scores: 17 English; 19 Math
    • Minimum SAT scores: 440 English and Math
  3. Submit online application no later than 4:00 p.m. on the deadline date. Applications submitted after 4:00 p.m. will not be reviewed.

See Application Dates and Deadlines and closely review other requirements Before You Apply.

All tuition and fees are estimated costs and subject to change without notice.

Program Costs Breakdown

Tuition for 1230 Clock Hours

  • $3,124.20 Florida Residents
  • $11,918.70Non-Florida Residents

Lab Fees: $299.00

Additional Expenses

  • $700.00 Books
  • $450.00 Health Physical and Required Immunizations
  • $55.00 American Heart Association Basic Life Support CPR
  • $216.50 Level 2 and Expanded National Background Screening; Drug Test
  • $20.00 Flu vaccination
  • $66.00 Instrument Kit/Equipment (due 1st week of classes)
  • $250.00 Uniforms (approximate cost for 2 uniforms, shoes and lab jacket)
  • $160.00 University of Florida Parking Decal
  • $425.00 Dental Assisting National Board Examination (DANB - due last semester of the program)

Program Cost Totals

  • $5,865.70 Florida Residents
  • $14,660.20 Non-Florida Residents


There are many scholarships available for Santa Fe College students to apply to. Please visit the Scholarships webpage for more information and how to apply.

Financial Aid

There are many options to finance your education.  You may be eligible for Federal Grants, Work Study, State Grants, Federal Loans, and Institutional Scholarships.  Please visit the Financial Aid page for more information and how to apply.

Selection criteria and points system is subject to change. It is the applicant's responsibility to check with the Health Sciences Advisement Office for up-to-date requirements and information. 

GPA (Maximum Points=20)

  • 3.75 - 4.00 (20 PTS)
  • 3.50 - 3.74 (16 PTS)
  • 3.25 - 3.49 (12 PTS)
  • 3.00 - 3.24 (8 PTS)
  • 2.75 - 2.99 (4 PTS)
  • 2.50 - 2.74 (0 PTS)

Grades Earned in Science (Maximum Points=6)

A=(6 PTS), B+=(5 PTS), B=(4 PTS), C+=(1 PT)

  • BSC2084 Anatomy & Physiology/Lab

Grades Earned in General Education (Maximum Points=16)

*A course in which a C grade or better has been earned cannot be retaken

A=(4 PTS), B+=(3 PTS), B=(2 PTS), C+=(1 PT)

  • ENC1101 English
  • PSY2012 General Psychology
  • SPC2608 Public Speaking
  • HSC 2531 Medical Terminology

Prior Education/Full-time Dental Work Experience (Maximum Points= 23): Only 1 degree may be used

  • B.A./B.S. or higher degree (5 PTS)
  • A.A./A.S. (4 PTS)
  • Full-time Dental Work Experience 1+ years (within 5 years of application) (15 PTS)
  • Full-time Dental Work Experience 1 year at the time of application (4 PTS)
  • High School Health Academy Graduate (3 PTS)

* All work experience MUST be documented and signed by employer. Documentation must include dates, hours worked, PT or FT status and duration of employment. Incomplete or undocumented forms will not count for points consideration. HSCO cannot contact employers or verify experience hours.

Military Service (5 PTS)

Military Service - Five points will be awarded to US Armed Forces active duty and honorably discharged veterans. Includes recent Reservist and National Guard combat deployments. DD-214 or proof of current service required. Minimum of one-year active-duty service required. Part-time Reservist or National Guard service must be documented separately and equal 365 active-duty days (i.e., weekend service, annual 2-week assignment and deployment). Service dates may be combined. Veterans who receive a general discharge must be classified without misconduct.

The Dental Assisting program spans 2.5 semesters with courses meeting in a variety of formats to include: on-campus, online, and virtually. In addition, students will conduct clinical internships at local dental clinics.

The program is a total of 1230 contact hours (41.0 credit hours).

The Technical courses must be taken as a cohort.

  • DEA0002 PROF DEVELOP (18 contact hours)
  • DEA0027 PRECLINIC PROC (33 contact hours)
  • DEA0027L PRECLIN LAB (60 contact hours)
  • DEA0029 DENTAL SPECIAL (33 contact hours)
  • DEA0300 PREVENTIVE DEN (33 contact hours)
  • DEA0800 SEMINAR I (18 contact hours)
  • DEA0800L CLINIC 1 (108 contact hours)
  • DEA0801 CLINIC 2 SEMN (30 contact hours)
  • DEA0801L CLINIC 2 LAB (240 contact hours)
  • DEA0850C CLIN 3 SEMN (30 contact hours)
  • DEA0850L CLIN 3 LAB (168 contact hours)
  • DEA0931 OFFICE EMERG (15 contact hours)
  • DES0021 DEN ANATOMY (33 contact hours)
  • DES0103 MATERIALS (33 contact hours)
  • DES0103L MAT LAB (45 contact hours)
  • DES0130 RELATED THEORY (18 contact hours)
  • DES0205 DNT RADIOGRAPHY (33 contact hours)
  • DES0205L RADIOGRAPHY LAB (60 contact hours)
  • DES0300 INTERP RELATION (15 contact hours)
  • DES0400 1 DENTAL SCI (30 contact hours)
  • DES0401 2 DENTAL SCI (39 contact hours)
  • DES0500 PRACTICE MGT (33 contact hours)
  • DES0831 EXPAND FUNCT (15 contact hours)
  • DES0831L EXP FUNCTION LB (45 contact hours)
  • DES0844 HEALTH ED (15 contact hours)
  • DES0844L HEALTH ED LAB (30 contact hours)

The philosophies of the program are as follows:

  • To prepare students to assume the responsibilities of a health care professional and co-therapist in the practice of dentistry.
  • To provide instruction which develops competencies in all of the professional services required of a Dental Assistant and Hygienist and prepare students to continue to develop and maintain professional competencies.
  • To instill in students a commitment to provide quality services to all patients without discrimination.
  • To stimulate interest and encourage students to participate in the development of the professions of Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene, through continuing education, research, and involvement with the professional organizations.
  • To nurture the development of ethical and professional behaviors.
  • To provide an atmosphere where growth and development flourishes and mutual respect exists between faculty and students participating together in the learning process.
  • To provide curricula content which contains the most relevant, current, and accurate theoretical and clinical knowledge.
  • To sequence curricula to allow for the most logical progression of content presentation, learning, and clinical skill development.
  • To structure curricula to utilize a case-based teaching format, thereby facilitating the transfer of didactic material to clinical practice.
  • To ensure that the curriculum provide learning experiences which reflect and meet the criteria of national boards/certifications and state regulatory agencies.
  • To strive to meet community and individual needs through innovative curriculum development.
  • To recognize the continuously changing needs of society for dental services, and to prepare the student to provide needed services regardless of the patients' age, sex, race, national origin, religion, marital status, social or economic status, and physical or mental disability.
  • To encourage faculty and students to demonstrate behaviors which reflect the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

The Dental Assisting Program is a practice discipline with cognitive, sensory, affective and psychomotor performance requirements. Based on these requirements, the following list of Program Performance Standards has been developed. Each standard has an example of activities which a student will be required to perform, with or without an accommodation, while enrolled in the Dental Assisting program. The Program Performance Standards should be used as a guide to assist applicants in determining whether or not accommodations or modifications are necessary in order to meet program participation requirements. Applicants who identify potential difficulties with meeting the Program Performance Standards should communicate their concerns to the Academic Chair for Dental Programs. If the concern is related to a documented disability, applicants are responsible for contacting the Disabilities Resource Center. Determination of reasonable and appropriate accommodation will be made on an individual basis in consultation with the Disabilities Resource Center. Additionally, applicants should assess their aptitude and ability to perform professional duties by reviewing the Program Performance Standards below and discussing them with their healthcare provider.

Critical Thinking

Standard: Critical thinking sufficient for clinical judgment.
Examples: Take and interpret medical histories and x-rays; develop treatment plans and react to medical emergencies.


Standard: Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.
Examples: Provide oral hygiene/oral health care instruction to patient and/or parents of patients. Explain informed consent and treatment plans. Establish good patient rapport.


Standard: Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in prompt, coherent and concise manner. Must be able to follow spontaneous verbal and/or written instructions. Ability to accurately document pertinent information.
Examples: Communicate during the delivery of oral health care services; document procedures and consult with other health care providers.


Standard: Physical abilities sufficient to move independently from room to room and through hallways; maneuver in small places. Must be able to bend, crouch, squat, kneel, balance, reach above head, twist at waist. Must be able to sit and/or walk for extended periods of time.
Examples: Sit chair side with patients for prolonged periods of time and seat/transfer patient. Transfer instruments and equipment to and from sterilization area. Accompany patient to radiography area; expose, process and retrieve radiographs.

Tactile and Motor Skills

Standard: Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to safely and effectively provide oral health care. Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment.
Examples: Perform all legally delegable functions. Palpate tissue, mix dental materials, transfer instruments and inspect margins of restorations..


Standard: Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.
Examples: Assess medically compromised/medical emergencies; hear indicator tones (curing light units; radiography units and sphygmomanometer sounds); converse with patient and/or parents of patients.


Standard: Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in oral health care.
Examples: Read, record in patient charts; evaluate tissue; write tissue descriptions; assess and evaluate oral health needs of the patient.

Professional Appearance

As a representative of Santa Fe College and the Dental Assisting Program, students must abide by specific professional appearance guidelines required by our clinical affiliates. Hair must be maintained within the range of natural color and must be conservative in length and style. Completely shaved or bald styles are acceptable; however, no partially shaved or one-sided haircuts are permitted. Visible tattoos must be covered by garments at all times. Visible body piercings are not allowed and earlobe gauges must be covered. Earrings are limited to one stud-style pair per ear. Clothing and footwear must comply with standards prescribed by the program. Facial hair should be kept neat and trimmed short. Artificial nails, nail polish, jewelry, watches and perfume are not permitted.

Program Effectiveness captures the quality of a program using qualitative data such as program completion, national exam pass rates and job placement.

Graduation Rate: 100%

Graduates Employed in Field: 100%


The Cost of Attendance (COA) is not the bill that you will receive from Santa Fe College. It is an estimate of what it costs the typical student to attend Santa Fe College for one academic year including tuition, books, course materials, living expenses, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Tuition and fees in the cost of attendance below are calculated for credit hour programs, assuming enrollment in 12 credit hours in the Fall and Spring semesters. Actual tuition and fees may vary by program. For a better understanding of your chosen program’s tuition and fees, see program costs above.

Undergraduate Lower Division Courses (A.A./A.S. Degree Courses)

  Off-Campus* Off-Campus w/ Parent**

Tuition and Fees

In-State: $106.77 per credit
Out-Of-State: $382.90 per credit

In-State: $2,563

Out-Of-State: $9,190

In-State: $2,563

Out-Of-State: $9,190

Books, Course Materials,
Supplies, and Equipment

$783 $783
Living Expenses
(Food & Housing)
$10,367 $3,654
Personal Expenses
$2,394 $2,394
Transportation $1,197 $3,942

In-State: $17,304

Out-Of-State: $23,931

In-State: $13,336

Out-Of-State: $19,963

Undergraduate Upper Division Courses (Bachelor's Degree Courses)

  Off-Campus* Off-Campus w/ Parent**

Tuition and Fees

In-State: $126.33 per credit
Out-Of-State: $428.83 per credit

In-State: $3,032

Out-Of-State: $10,292

In-State: $3,032

Out-Of-State: $10,292

Books, Course Materials,
Supplies, and Equipment
$783 $783
Living Expenses
(Food & Housing)
$10,367 $3,654
Personal Expenses
$2,394 $2,394
Transportation $1,197 $3,942

In-State: $17,773

Out-Of-State: $25,033

In-State: $13,805

Out-Of-State: $21,065

*Off-Campus: you intend to live off-campus but not with your parent(s).

**Off-Campus with Parent: you intend to live with your parent(s) or other relatives.

Note: All costs and rates are subject to change for the upcoming year.

For more detailed information, visit SF's Cost of Attendance page.


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