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Dental Assisting – Certified

Build Dakota Scholarship Fund

Dental assistants are the “extra hands” of the dentist, and vital members of the dental health care team. Dental offices are clean, friendly, and interesting places to work. As a dental assistant, you will perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Assisting general and specialty dentists during procedures
  • Recording patient medical histories and taking vital signs
  • Taking x-rays
  • Administering nitrous oxide/oxygen to patients
  • Polishing teeth
  • Fabricating casts for dental procedures
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment for the dentist’s use
  • Performing office management tasks

Lake Area Tech’s 11-month diploma option will give you optimal hands-on experience. Expect to practice your skills, first in a modern dental lab at Lake Area Tech, and then at an off-campus clinical experience. Please note: There will not be enough clinical spots for everyone in Watertown. Please be prepared for an out-of-town clinical experience.

If you want more skills, experience, and a better springboard for further education, you can choose to go on for a 20-month Associate of Applied Science degree.

All graduates are eligible to complete the Dental Assisting National Board and meet all requirements to be registered in radiology and expanded functions by the South Dakota Board of Dentistry. To be accepted into this program, the American Dental Association requires all applicants to have a high school diploma or GED.

Please contact admissions or dental faculty for more information.

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The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. Check out their website.

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Professional Licensure

Lake Area Technical College’s curriculum for Dental Assisting meets the educational requirements for professional licensure in South Dakota and many other states. Professional licensure and certification requirements often vary from state to state. Prospective or current students considering an academic program that leads to a professional license or certification are strongly encouraged to seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in the state you plan to work before beginning an affiliated academic program. Read more here regarding Professional Licensure Disclosures.

Lake Area Tech is set to expand its renowned healthcare education offerings with the approval of a new Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program in Dental Hygiene to begin fall 2025.

The Dental Hygiene curriculum will equip students with the elevated theoretical knowledge and practical skills required of a dental hygienist. Once the student successfully completes the Dental Assisting AAS degree, they can apply to continue for an additional year of instruction to obtain their Dental Hygiene AAS degree. The program will comprise of comprehensive curriculum, including advanced oral anatomy, periodontology, preventative dental health, radiography, instrumentation, ethical conduct and community dental health issues. Students will also gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations, allowing them to apply their learning in real-world settings under the supervision of local experienced professionals.

The 1 + 1 design of the Dental Hygiene AAS degree is unique. Dental Hygiene graduates from LATC will earn two degrees, an AAS in Dental Assisting and an AAS in Dental Hygiene, in only three years. Furthermore, our graduates will be more flexible in their job role by providing both dental assisting and dental hygiene skills.

More information on the new Dental Hygiene program at Lake Area Tech will be released very soon.