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Dental Assisting Frequently Asked Questions

for Prospective Students

What resources can I use to assist me in exploring the dental assisting profession?
Visit adaa.org, ada.org, danb.org or the Commission on Dental Assistants Certification. You may also want to visit the Career Services Department on campus in room S100.

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What is a dental assistant?
Dental assistants enable dentists and hygienists to care for many patients. The dental assistant works directly with the dentist and/or the hygienist during procedures.  Dental assistants have a variety of roles within the dental office including front office duties.

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Is dental assisting a field for women only? 
No.
Although the majority of dental assistants are women, men are very successful in this field too. For example, there are many male dental assistants who find opportunities in oral surgery offices, busy hospital clinics, as well as, many dental offices.

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How long is the DA program at Stark State College?
Most students finish the career enhancement certificate in as little as 2 semesters. Associate of Science Degree seeking individuals should expect to complete in 5 semesters as a full time student.

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Are there any pre-requisites prior to admission into the DA program?
Yes.
Compass placement scores and/or prerequisites are established for the program. Compass reading scores must be met with a score of 80 or better. IDS-102 or testing out with a reading score of 80 is the pre-requisite for the program.

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Is the BCI/FBI background necessary prior to applying to the program? 
Yes.
All applicants must attach the eligibility form from their BCI/FBI background check to the application.  Applications are submitted to the registration office.  Both BCI/FBI background checks must be completed.  The cost for the background check is currently $60.00 for both.

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What are other requirements?
Official high school and/or college transcripts submitted to the college upon being accepted to Stark State College.

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What is the cost of the program?
$2355.00--$2400.00 excluding tuition and living expenses

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Are there any personal attributes I should consider if thinking about dental assisting as a career?
Yes.
Prospective student should have the ability to succeed in a science-based curriculum, relate well to people on a one-on-one basis, feel comfortable working in close proximity with people of all ages and backgrounds, be patient, and have good time management skills.

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Are there any specific physical requirements necessary to perform dental assisting functions?
A dental assistant must have use of both hands, dexterity in the fingers and the ability to manipulate instruments, materials, dental hand pieces, and operate dental equipment. The use of feet is necessary to manipulate the rheostat for hand pieces or other dental equipment. The body must be able to work from a dental stool in order to perform most dental procedures. The ability to sit and stand for a duration of time is also necessary. Other specific requirements include color spectrum differentiation; manual dexterity/motor coordination, hand-eye coordination, physical communications; visual acuity and communication/language development.

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Is this a full-time or part-time program?
This program is designed with flexibility within your schedule. You are given the opportunity to proceed at your own pace.  Most students complete the degree within 2 years or complete the career enhancement in 2 semesters.

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Is there an application deadline?
No
. Applicants will be accepted when a candidate completes the eligibility (pre-application) requirements.

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What does eligibility mean?
A student has met the special pre-application requirements and is ready to apply for admission to the program.

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Do all eligible applicants get accepted into the program?
Yes.
Acceptance to the Program is based solely on meeting the requirements and submitting a complete application. Applicants are not placed in competition with one another. However, admission is granted on a space available basis. Eligible applicants are guaranteed admission but may be admitted to a succeeding class.

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How many students are in each class?
A full class includes 24 students.  Student to teacher ratio is typically 6-7:1in each of the courses.

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When do students start the program?
Students are accepted into the program in the Spring and Fall semesters.  Total number of students accepted are 48.

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Are summer courses offered?
Yes.
Summer courses are offered for students who have already been accepted into the program and are eligible to take the course(s) being offered.

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What hours will I be in attendance at school while enrolled in the Dental Assisting Program?
The schedule varies during the year. Lecture and lab classes are scheduled simultaneously with the course offering. Day, evening, and Saturday courses are available. Classes meet 1x weekly.

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Can credits earned in the program be transferred or applied to a bachelor’s degree?
Yes.
Arts and Sciences courses included in the curriculum are transferable. Technical courses must be evaluated by the institution where a student wishes to transfer. Contact the Department Chair for information about degree completion options.

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Are dental assistants at risk for infectious diseases, such as AIDS?
Dental assistants who practice according to the infection control guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, and by doing so are at no greater risk than any other health care professional.

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Can out of state students apply and be accepted? 
Yes.
The same criteria and procedures apply.

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How do I apply to the DA program?
Students must register to become a student of the college PRIOR to applying to any program at Stark State College.  Initial steps include:

  • Complete college application
  • Complete Compass placement exam
  • Submit official high school and/or college transcripts to the college.
  • Complete BCI/FBI background check at the security office
  • Complete program application with attached eligibility document.

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Who should I contact for more information?
Contact the program coordinator:  Jill Kohler, DA, RDH, BSDH, jkohler@starkstate.edu ,330-494-6170 ext. 5047.

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