Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist?
A dental assistant works directly with the dentist. Duties vary according to the state. The assistant is responsible for helping the dentist with his/her procedures. This includes setting up for the procedure, suctioning, transferring of instruments and mixing materials. A dental assistant also takes radiographs, impressions and provides patient education. A dental hygienist’s duties include cleaning teeth and applying sealants.
What is the job market for dental assistants?
Dental assisting is currently the 3rd fastest growing career, with an expected growth of 43% in the next 10 years.  100% of our students find employment in the field upon graduation. The national average salary for dental assistants is $33,200.00.  The average salary in the state of Alabama is $28, 900.00.
How can I obtain more information about the program?
You may make an appointment with a dental assisting advisor by calling 256-352-8300.
What is the process for being selected for admission to the program?
A GPA of 2.3 is required for admission. The ACCUPLACER placement test must be completed before applying.  You can contact placement testing at 256-352-8046 to schedule the ACCUPLACER. Students must be eligible to take ENG 101 to be accepted into the program.  The program admits in the Fall semester only, so applications are due June 1. Applications can be found on the website under Program Application or can be requested to be mailed by calling 256-352-8300. We admit 24 students to the program per year.
Do I have to complete all general required courses before applying?
It is not required to complete all general required courses before applying.  However, the dental assisting curriculum is challenging, so it is difficult to finish in 1 year if all general required courses need to be completed.
Is it necessary to get letters of recommendation or observation hours before applying?
No, we do not require letters of recommendation or observation hours.
Can the general required courses be taken at other colleges?
Yes.  WSCC has linkage programs with many other colleges in the state.  This linkage relationship guarantees the transfer of certain general required courses. Even if your college is not part of our linkage program or is out-of-state, courses are still transferable as long as they are equivalent to our courses.  Information on course equivalency may be obtained by contacting the Admissions office at 256-352-8128.
If I complete the dental assisting program will I have a better chance of getting into dental hygiene?
Yes. A dental assisting graduate with a certificate from an American Dental Association accredited program will have a better chance of getting into dental hygiene. Additionally, there are a few dental assisting classes that will transfer into the dental hygiene program. Contact the program director at 256-352-8380 if you are unsure whether the dental assisting program you attended is accredited.
Do I have to have CPR certification and physical before being accepted?
Proof of current CPR for Healthcare Providers and the physical exam form must be presented on the first day of class at the beginning of the program.
When will I know if I’ve been accepted?

The deadline for applications is June 1. Students are contacted in early July to inform them of their acceptance/non-acceptance into the program. The letter will inform you of when to attend the mandatory orientation which is held prior to the first day of school.
What costs can I expect?

The costs are detailed on the website under program application. During orientation you will get information about uniforms and supplies that need to be purchased in the first semester.
When do clinical rotations begin and where do they take place?
Students begin going to off campus clinical rotation sites in the Spring semester. You can expect to be at the rotation sites 3 days per week in the Spring and Summer semester.
Can I take any dental assisting classes online?
We offer a few hybrid courses in which most of the coursework is done online, but the majority of the program is administered in the classroom/clinic setting.
What type of class schedule can I expect?
You can expect to be in class 8:00-3:00 Monday-Friday. There are some semesters in which you will have 1-2 days off during the week.
How long is the program?
The program is 3 semesters in length-Fall, Spring, and Summer.
Are there loans/scholarships available?
Yes.  Contact our financial aid department at 256-352-8182 for information about loans/scholarships.
What type of certification will I receive?
Our students are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board(DANB). Is it not required to be certified in the state of Alabama, but many states require certification by DANB.