Future Dental Assisting Students

Dental Hygiene 2015
Students in the lab
Dental Hygiene Students
Dental Hygiene 2015

Year-to-Career Program

Please read further to see the exciting changes to the Dental Assisting Program



The dental assistant takes on significant responsibility as a member of the dental health-care team. Registered Dental Assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team. The duties of a California registered dental assistant (RDA) are among the most comprehensive and varied in the dental office. They perform many tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills.

Responsibilities include:

  • assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures;
  • taking dental radiographs;
  • reviewing a patient’s medical history and taking their vital signs;
  • serving as an infection control officer;
  • developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment;
  • helping patients feel comfortable and confident, before, during and after dental treatment;
  • providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures, such as the placement of a restoration (filling);
  • teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health; (e.g., toothbrushing, flossing and nutritional counseling); and
  • taking impressions of patients’ teeth for study models.

In addition to clinical responsibilities, those who prefer the business office can have administrative functions, such as a scheduling coordinator, an insurance processor, treatment  and financial coordinator and as an office manager.



A Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) is a health professional licensed in the State of California who typically works chairside with patients, assisting the dentist and or working independently performing duties within the scope of practice deemed appropriate by the Dental Board of California. Additionally they may work in the front office, or in a dental laboratory, community clinics, as a dental product representative or as an educator in the college setting. After graduating from Santa Rosa Junior College CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) accredited program they are able to take the state licensing exam to become a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) and they may also become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) by taking the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam.








The program starts each Fall semester. YOU MUST APPLY AND BE ACCEPTED TO THE PROGRAM.  An application is available now on this website to print and fill out. The application period is from January 14, 2020 to March 5, 2020 for the Fall 2020 semester. Applications postmarked after this end date will not be accepted. It is the responsibility of applicants to make sure that files are complete by March 5, 2020.

General Qualifications

Applicants Must:

1. Be eligible for enrollment in SRJC credit classes.

2. Not be on academic probation or progress probation.

3. Be informed: In accordance with state law, the Dental Board of California (DBC) may deny licensure for crimes substantially related to the practice of dental assisting. This includes convictions involving sex crimes, drug crimes (including DUI), and crimes of violence. It is the responsibility of the applicant to present sufficient evidence of rehabilitation to the BDE prior to licensure application. Questions that students may have related to possible denial for licensure should be referred to: Dental Board of California, 2005 Evergreen Street - Suite 1550, Sacramento, CA 95815.

4. Must be substance abuse free for a minimum of two years as substantiated by Rehabilitation Center attending physician.

5. Must be able to read, write, and comprehend English to effectively communicate with patients, faculty and staff.

6. Be able to attend college on a full time basis during the 2 consecutive semesters.

7. Must be 18 years old or older.


Recommended Preparation

A. CS5 Personal Computers for New Users

B. Health Care 160 Medical Terminology - HLC160

Contact: Jennifer Poovey, Director of Dental Assisting, at (707) 535-3788 or jpoovey@santarosa.edu for specific questions regarding your application. Contact SRJC Health Science Counselor for all prerequisite course questions.


IMPORTANT: Make an appointment with a Health Sciences Counselor by calling (707-527-4451). If you are returning to school after several years, please call the Reentry Office at (707) 527-4375 to access information and support services.

Selection Process


2. In the event that there are more qualified applicants than spaces available in the class, students will be randomly selected by computer.

Acceptance Notification

Letters of acceptance/non-acceptance into the Dental Assisting Program will be emailed to applicant approximately six weeks after the application deadline. Acceptance/non-acceptance information will not be given out over the phone.

Students who are accepted into the program are expected to attend the Dental Programs orientation session scheduled in June to discuss program requirements, health requirements, uniforms and instrument kits.

Clinical Site Requirements

1. Complete physical examination form. (Must use and submit a SRJC form). A physician or nurse practitioner must complete the physical within one year prior to entering the program.

2. Positive rubella and rubeola titer or positive antibody screen or MMR vaccine. (**)

3. Second measles vaccine or MMR (minimum 4-6 weeks after initial MMR) for students born after 1957 or proof of immunity.(**)

4. Proof of negative PPD (TB test) (**). The Health Sciences Department now requires the two-step PPD. You need to get the first PPD between June 1 and August 1 and the second PPD one to three weeks from the first shot. If positive PPD, documentation of a baseline chest x-ray (radiology report) taken within the last year must be produced. A symptom-free form completed by an MD or FNP will need to be filled out one year after the chest x-ray.

5. First Hepatitis B vaccine MUST be completed by the first day of Fall semester classes (*).

6. Tetanus or tetanus/diphtheria (Tdap) documented within the last 10 years (*).

7. Copy of current CPR card, including adult, child, and infant. Required:  American Heart Association Health Care Provider or BLS or American Red Cross BLS

8. Evidence of immunity to varicella (see chickenpox status statement) (*)

(*) SRJC Student Health Services offers these immunizations for a fee.

(**) Can be obtained through SRJC Student Health Services or Public Health at little, or no cost. Students will need to bring in their own photocopies of the required documentation, due to the Dental Programs Director or designee on the first day of Fall semester classes.

Transcripts/International Transcripts

Students who have a high school diploma or college degree from a school outside the United States must contact the Dental Programs Administrative Assistant in the Health Sciences office.



The SRJC Dental Assisting Program is located in the beautiful new state-of-the-art William B Race Health Sciences Building on the Santa Rosa Campus.

The Dental Assisting program is a well balanced 2 semester (Fall and Spring), full-time sequence of instruction.

Twenty-four full-time students are admitted in the program each fall. The program admits students once a year in the fall semester.

The Dental Assisting Program has an excellent reputation within the local dental community. Graduates of the Dental Assisting Program rank among the highest in the state in passing the California Registered Dental Assisting Examination.

The majority of the dental assisting classes are a combination of science-oriented lectures and skill development laboratories. During the lectures, students learn theory about oral anatomy, dental radiology, dental materials, chairside dental assisting, oral health information, and management of dental and medical emergencies. In the labs, students apply the knowledge that they have learned in lectures and develop the skills necessary to become competent in the procedures they will expected to perform in their clinical experiences.

During the fall and spring semesters, students should plan for classes to be scheduled from 8 AM to 5 PM, four days a week. There may be times when a class will be held before 8 AM or later than 5 PM.  Approximately 7 hours of outside study each week is required.

Students are expected to provide their own transportation to and from their assigned the clinical sites.



The Allied Dental Programs curriculum creates an environment in which students are stimulated to learn, to grow personally, to develop decision making, ethical, and problem solving skills, and to stimulate creative and independent thinking.  Students will achieve professional and personal growth through application of classroom knowledge in clinical, laboratory and community settings.

 Program Goals:

To provide an education that reflects academic excellence and which serves the variety of needs and abilities of our students. 

• Graduates will apply evidence based knowledge and skills as they assume the responsibilities of a registered/certified dental assistant. 

• Assisting students to succeed in meeting their educational goals by providing comprehensive instructional and student support services. 

• Prepare graduates to assume responsibility for continued professional growth, high professional standards and to meet the challenges of oral health care delivery. 

• To prepare students to pass the Certified Dental Assisting Examination and California State Registered Dental Assisting licensure examination.



Upon successful completion of this certificate, the student will be able to: 

• Graduates of the dental assisting program will be able to make ethical decisions, and demonstrate problem-solving abilities through independent and critical thinking; and 

• Graduates will be able to assist a dentist in all phases of diagnosis and treatment of patients, including restorative and cosmetic procedures, endodontic procedures, orthodontic, pediatric, and surgical procedures.



Program costs are approximate and do not include the California State Registered Dental Assisting examination and licensing fees. Costs may vary depending on costs associated with books, health requirements and tuition costs for students. Additional travel costs to clinical sites have not been included in these approximate costs.


(Supplies for Fall and Spring semesters)




Scrubs, lab coat, shoes, masks and gloves


Health Requirements for the program


Registration/Tuition 27.5 units @ $46.00 a unit (additional fees not included)




 Amounts submitted by Jennifer Poovey – lead faculty for Dental Assisting


 Application - The application period begins January 14th 2020 and ends 5:00 pm March 5th 2020.

 Downloadable:  Application



 For Dental Assisting Certificate: Official college website: Program of Study


Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. I am interested in pursuing a career in Dental Assisting, how do I get started?
A. It is recommended that you start by reviewing the information on the Dental Assisting web page. Go to the SRJC main page and use the pull down menu under Academics, go to certificates programs on the left side, then pull down the menu select certificate, and select dental assisting. Here you will find information on the program and can continue to explore specific questions by clicking on “more information”. Make an appointment with a Health Sciences Counselor by calling (707) 527-4451.

Q. Do I need to apply to the College and the Dental Assisting Program?
A. If you are not already a student at SRJC, you must complete an application for admission to the College. The Dental Assisting Program also requires you to complete a separate application. The program application must contain all the required documentation and be submitted to the Health Sciences Department before the deadline.

Q. What are the prerequisite classes required for the Dental Assisting Program?
A. Beginning Fall 2019, there are no prerequisite classes required for the Dental Assisting program. 

Recommended Preparation includes:  CS 5 Computer Literacy, HLC160 Medical Terminology and English 100/ESL100 or eligibility for English 1A. 

Q. How many students will be accepted?
24 students will be accepted each fall 

Q. Is there any actual dental office experience?
A.  Dental assisting students are assigned externship experience two days a week in a private general dentistry practice for 16 weeks in the Spring semester. 

Q. How long is the program?
A. The dental assisting program is a 2-semester program (Fall and Spring) 

Q. Can I take individual courses in the program without applying to the program?
A. No, you must be enrolled in the entire program.

Q.  Is the Dental Assisting Program accredited?
A.  The Registered Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Dental Board of California. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the California State Registered Dental Assisting examination.   

Q.  How hard is the program?
A.  Each year many students mention that the program is more challenging than they anticipated. Quizzes in multiple classes can be given on the same day. Cumulative midterm and final exams are given for each class. The faculty is very committed to helping students succeed, we have a 90% completion rate.

Q. Does the program do job placement?
A. The program does have an online job board where dentists may place ads. The Dental Assisting program has an excellent reputation in the dental community and SRJC graduates do not usually have trouble finding jobs. Often students are offered jobs during their clinical rotations.

Q. Are there any scholarships or financial aid available?
A. Yes, there are scholarships through SRJC's Scholarship Office specifically for dental assisting students, and financial aid may be available through the Financial Aid Office.


Career Opportunities

The SRJC dental Assisting Program is a 2018 CA State Community College Chancellor’s office gold Star Award winner

This award is given to career and technical education courses who show outstanding post-college outcomes in: Employment, Earnings Gain and Regional Living Wage.

SRJC Dental Assisting Graduates achieve: 100% employment in their field, have an 161% increase in earnings, and 73% attain the regional living wage

The Registered Dental Assistant is able to find employment in various settings depending on their particular interest. Whether it be in a general office setting, a specialty office, a hospital, a community dental clinic, or in a dental school. There are many opportunities to learn and grow as a team member in these settings. Being a licensed dental professional allows the RDA to wear many hats with the possibilities not quite limitless allowing them to work in positions such as a dental product salesperson, an office manager, scheduling coordinator, insurance clerk, a consultant or as a teacher in the community college setting. Graduates of community colleges are in great demand and are often hired even before they finish the dental assisting program. Students are encouraged to further their knowledge, skills and education opening many more doors and opportunities for advancement in the field. Looking to the future they can pursue their Registered Dental Assistant in Expanded Functions 2 (RDAEF2) license by completing additional schooling through a dental school or completing prerequisites and applying to attend dental hygiene or dental school. 


Accreditation and Licensure

After successfully passing the California state RDA exam, the RDA is licensed in California by the Dental Board of California. Upon completion of the dental assisting program graduates may also become a Certified Dental Assistant, which requires the applicant to take and pass an exam administered by the Dental Assisting National Board. This certification is recognized throughout the United States.

The Dental Assisting Certificate program at Santa Rosa Junior College is accredited by the Dental Board of California. Students graduating from this program receive a comprehensive education in California Registered Dental Assisting duties and are eligible to take the California RDA exam upon graduation.  


 Licensure Note:

In accordance with state law, the Dental Board of California (DBC) may deny licensure for crimes substantially related to the practice of dental assisting. This includes convictions involving sex crimes, drug crimes (including DUI), and crimes of violence. It is the responsibility of the applicant to present sufficient evidence of rehabilitation to the DBC prior to licensure application. 



Jennifer Poovey, Director, Dental Assisting Programs
Phone: (707) 535-3788
E-mail: jpoovey@santarosa.edu