Have you ever thought about diving into the world of dentistry but aren’t quite sure where to start?

Are you also interested in pursuing a career in dental assistance, but are stressed about which dental school to choose?

Well, we’re here to help you with that.

In this article, we will uncover everything you need to know about dental schools: types, benefits, and drawbacks, how to choose one, and more.

So, let’s get started!

travel dental helper.

Types of Dental Assistant Schools

You might be curious about what type of dental schools are there, and which might suit you best according to your needs and goals.

Here are the three main ways of completing your dental assistant education:

Associate Degree:

These institutions offer comprehensive programs that typically last two years. They dive deep into dental theory, practice, and clinical skills.

Students pursuing an associate degree get a well-rounded education, covering not only dental assisting techniques but also general education subjects like math, biology, and communication. These programs also include hands-on clinical experiences.

Certificate Programs:

Shorter in duration compared to associate degree programs, certificate programs in dental assisting focus primarily on the practical skills needed in the field.

They’re often completed within a year and are ideal for individuals who want to quickly gain the necessary skills to start working in dental offices. These programs concentrate on hands-on training, covering topics such as chairside assisting, sterilization techniques, and patient care without the comprehensive academic coursework required in associate degree programs.

Online Programs:

One of the most recommended ways of completing your dental assistance education, online dental assistant programs offer flexibility, allowing students to study at their own pace and often on their schedule.

These programs typically cover similar content to the in-person programs but are delivered through online modules and videos.

Most online dental assistant training programs also include hands-on training experience in the form of externships, which makes them an ideal choice.

See: Where can a Dental Assistant work?


How Long is Dental Assistant School?

The length of the dental assistant school or training program depends on the type of program you choose.

Let’s take a look at the duration of the three types of dental assistant training programs:

  • Associate Degree – 2 years
  • Certificate Programs – up to 1 year
  • Online programs – can be completed in as little as 6 months

How Much is Dental Assistant School?

As mentioned earlier, the duration and the cost of dental assistant schools vary according to the type of program you choose.

Typically, associate degrees can range between $10,000 and $30,000, which means students have to often rely on financial aid such as student loans, which can take years to pay off.

Certificate programs typically range between $5,000 to $8,000, which is better than associate degrees, but still expensive since you will have to add the cost of traveling to and from scheduled classes.

Online programs, on the other hand, are the cheapest alternative, with tuition fees ranging from $1,599 to $3,000, which makes it the best option.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental School?

Attending dental school comes with its own pros and cons, and we’re here to highlight them for you.


  • Career Opportunities: Training from a dental assistant school opens doors to a stable and growing field. Dental assistants are in demand in various healthcare settings, offering many job opportunities.
  • Hands-On Experience: Programs often provide practical, hands-on experience in real dental settings. This exposure helps students develop essential skills before entering the workforce.
  • Specialized Knowledge: Students gain specialized knowledge in dental procedures, terminology, and patient care, making them valuable assets in dental practices.
  • Career Advancement: A dental assistant education can serve as a stepping stone for further education and specialization within the dental field, such as dental hygienist or even pursuing dentistry.
  • Flexibility: Some programs offer flexible schedules, allowing students to balance education with work or other commitments.

Read: Dental Administrative Assistant

dental assistant


  • Time Commitment: Longer programs, such as associate degrees, require a significant time investment, which might result in delaying entry into the workforce compared to shorter certificate programs.
  • Cost: Tuition fees and associated costs can be substantial, especially for longer programs. This financial burden might make some individuals refrain from pursuing dental assistant education.
  • Limited Scope: While dental assistant training covers a wide range of skills, it might not dive deeply into certain specialized areas, which means additional training or education for career growth.
  • Physical Demands: Working as a dental assistant can involve physically demanding tasks, such as standing for long periods or assisting in procedures that require precision and attention to detail.
  • Market Saturation: In some regions, there might be competition for dental assistant positions, making it more challenging to find employment without additional qualifications or experience.

Is Dental School Worth It?

Deciding if dental assistant school is a good choice depends on a few things. If you are interested in the dental field, want a stable job, and enjoy helping people, it could be a great fit.

This education gives you skills and know-how for working in dental offices. But it’s important to think about the costs too. It might take time and money to finish school, and the income might not balance out those costs for everyone.

Plus, if you’re aiming for a different career or need flexibility, this might not be the best path. It’s smart to look into job opportunities in your area and see if this aligns with what you want before making a decision.

Read: How Long Does It Take To Become a Dental Assistant?

How to Choose the Right Dental Assistant School

Choosing the right dental assistant school is crucial in becoming a successful dental assistant, and involves considering several important factors.

Here are a few:

1. Accreditation: Ensure the school is accredited by recognized accrediting authorities. Accreditation ensures the program meets educational standards and enhances job prospects.

2. Program Length and Format: Decide on the type of program that suits your schedule and preferences—whether it’s an associate degree, certificate program, or online course. Consider the duration, class schedules, and flexibility.

3. Curriculum: Review the curriculum to ensure it covers essential topics like dental procedures, patient care, and practical training. Look for programs that offer hands-on experience in real dental settings.

4. Cost and Financial Aid: Evaluate the overall cost of the program, including tuition, fees, and materials. Explore available financial aid options, scholarships, or payment plans.


Choosing to be a dental assistant isn’t only a job decision; it’s a path toward providing good oral health and bringing joy to numerous smiles. While attending Dental Assistant School may have its cons, the commitment of time and effort is usually worth it.

Read More: Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant

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