Degrees & Classes

Degrees & Classes

Dental Assisting

Associate Applied Science - Transfer

Choose BTC’s Dental Assisting program to train for a position as a dental assistant. Learn how to provide patient care, perform office duties and lab work, while working alongside dentists as they examine and treat their patients.

Graduates will find employment opportunities with dental, orthodontic, and periodontal offices, as well as hospitals, public health departments, or in clinics.

Employment Information


93% BTC graduate placement rate

$35,776 starting annual wage

$42,682 average annual wage

$50,898 potential annual wage

Employment and wage data sources

Estimated Program Costs:


Estimated Books, Tools and Supplies Costs

Tuition Fees and Rates

The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Jobs & Employment

Employment opportunities for dental assistants in Washington State are expected to grow due to rapid employment growth and above average job turnover.

About 93% of BTC Dental Assisting students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $42,682, with an earning potential of about $50,898 per year.*

Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

Potential Positions

Most dental assistants are employed by private dental offices. Dental assistants may also be employed by orthodontists, periodontists, hospitals, dental schools, state and local public health departments, the military, or in clinics. Although most program graduates work as dental assistants, opportunities may also exist for employment as research assistants or sales representatives.

Courses

Use this tool to see this program's course offerings for upcoming quarters

Select Catalog     

Courses are from the Catalog

TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS91 credits

  • HLTH 154HealthCare Provider First Aid and CPR1 credits

    This course will teach both professional level CPR and first aid. CPR will cover adult, child and infant skills, barrier devices and use of the AED (automated external defibrillator). The first aid component will cover all requirements per OSHA and WISHA and will discuss some advanced first aid skills. The CPR portion does require a written exam to be passed with 84% as well as skills evaluation prior to card issuance. Text required.


    Future Offerings
    1/18-1/25Sa 9:00a-2:00pSTAFFWaitlisted: 2
    Join the Waitlist for this class
    2/19W 6:00p-9:00pSTAFFOpenings: 5
    Register for this class
    6/6-6/13Sa 9:00a-2:00pSTAFFOpenings: 12
    Register for this class
    5/6W 6:00p-9:00pSTAFFOpenings: 12
    Register for this class
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 credits

    An overview of the factors affecting behavior including topics related to theories of learning, the senses, perceptions, nervous system, emotions, personality theory, motivation, abnormal behavior and therapy, and social psychology.

    Prerequisite:
    Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or B grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or B grade in ENGL 092 or C grade in AENGL 100.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26Online SMITH MWaitlisted: 6
    Register for this class
    1/8-3/25MWF10:10a-11:30aSMITH MOpenings: 19
    Register for this class
    1/8-3/25MW12:30p-1:50pSMITH MWaitlisted: 0
    Register for this class
    4/8-6/24MWF10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/8-6/24MW 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
  • Quarter 1
  • DEN 110Dental Foundations5 credits

    This course provides the student with the foundation necessary to enter into the Bellingham Technical College Dental Clinic. The student will gain the knowledge and skills required to maintain a safe dental environment. Also included are federal and state regulations regarding chemical use, infection control, and medical emergencies in the dental office. This course introduces basic concepts of radiography. Students learn how to correctly and safely evaluate need for x-rays including: expose, process, and mount intraoral radiographs utilizing the bitewing technique.

    Prerequisite:
    Dental Assisting Program Admission

    Future Offerings
    4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
  • DEN 112Chairside Assisting I7 credits

    This course provides the student with the knowledge and skills needed to operate and maintain typical equipment found in a dental operatory. The student will gain an understanding of the design, function, and maintenance of handpieces, dental instruments and the dental unit water/vacuum line. This course will also focus on the theory and delivery of basic dental assisting skills such as: dental ergonomics, principles of team positioning, instrument transfer and oral evacuation.

    Prerequisite:
    Dental Assisting Program Admission

    Future Offerings
    4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
  • DEN 114Dental Sciences4 credits

    This course focuses on related biomedical sciences that are the foundation of the Dental Assistant curriculum. Course content includes basic oral embryology, histology and tooth morphology. Concepts of oral pathology and oral inspection will be introduced. The course covers the impact of blood borne pathogens and how they relate to the field of dentistry.

    Prerequisite:
    Dental Assisting Program Admission

    Future Offerings
    4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
  • DEN 115Dental Clinic Practicum I6 credits

    This course provides a clinical introduction for the student. Students will be assigned to a variety of weekly clinical responsibilities. They will begin their duties with a mentor and eventually move to independent competencies. Students will gain hands-on experience in front office, clinical coordination, x-ray processing, patient intake, and sterilization. Toward the end of clinical practice phase I, they will begin assisting and documenting dental exams and dental hygiene appointments.

    Prerequisite:
    Dental Assisting Program Admission

    Future Offerings
    4/7-6/24MF 7:30a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 12
  • Quarter 2
  • DEN 120Patient Assessment8 credits

    This course provides the student with the level of knowledge and skills required for the dental assistant to accurately collect and assess patient data. The student will have the opportunity to learn and practice the skills associated with collecting a health history, obtaining vital signs, assisting with medical emergencies, and assisting the dentist in the diagnostic stages of dental treatment. Pharmacology and anesthesia will be presented as it relates to dentistry and oral health. This course also includes instruction on dental office administration, concentrating on specific job duties in the Bellingham Technical College Dental Clinic.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
    Register for this class
  • DEN 122Chairside Assisting II6 credits

    Provides the student with appropriate skills required to perform routine dental procedures. Instruction will include the use and manipulation of dental instrument setups, restorative materials, isolation techniques and how to effectively transfer instruments when assisting in a dental procedure.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
    Register for this class
  • DEN 124Radiography3 credits

    The student will learn to accurately and safely expose, process and mount full mouth periapicals, maxillary and mandibular occlusal films. Also including panoramic radiographs utilizing a variety of techniques. This course will provide the skills necessary to produce films with optimal diagnostic quality on a variety of patient situations including: pedodontics, edentulous and extra oral.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
    Register for this class
  • DEN 125Dental Clinic Practicum II4 credits

    Orients the student and identifies the clinic competencies that must be successfully demonstrated in order for the student to advance to DEN 135. This course provides the hands-on experience required for front office, clinic coordination, and assistive functions with the clinic dentist and dental hygienist.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26MF 7:30a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
    Register for this class
  • Quarter 3
  • DEN 130Preventative Dentistry3 credits

    This course provides the student with a working knowledge of preventative dentistry, good oral hygiene and nutrition. Students will learn how to promote preventative dentistry in the office and the procedures available to curb oral diseases including: dental caries and periodontal disease.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
    Register for this class
    4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
  • DEN 132Dental Specialties1 credits

    Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to assist in dental specialties including: prosthodontics, oral surgery, pediatrics and orthodontics.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a minimum grade of C in each course

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
    Register for this class
    4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
  • DEN 134Laboratory Procedures2 credits

    Enables students to develop skills in the use and manipulation of dental materials and lab equipment. Taking, pouring, separating, trimming, and finishing study modules and preparing custom trays will be included in this course.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 132 with a C or higher (Pre or Co Requisite)

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
    Register for this class
    4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
  • DEN 135Dental Clinic Practicum III4 credits

    This course is a continuation of DEN 125. It provides the hands-on experience required for front office, clinic coordination, and assistive functions with the clinic dentist and dental hygienist. The student must successfully demonstrate the required clinic competencies in order to be eligible to participate in the extramural experience.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26MF 7:30a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 5
    Register for this class
    4/7-6/24MF 7:30a-3:30pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
  • DEN 137Extramural Practicum8 credits

    Allows students to apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained in the Dental Assistant Program. Expected behaviors regarding office policies, record keeping, and evaluation procedures, as an employee and team member, are explored. Ethical and legal concerns are also addressed. Students are then placed in a variety of local dental offices where they apply skills related to basic chairside, oral hygiene and operative dentistry.

    Prerequisite:
    DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-5:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
    Register for this class
    4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-5:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
  • Pre-Program
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 credits

    A composition course in which students read, analyze, and write essays using a variety of rhetorical strategies, as well as develop and verbally express ideas clearly and effectively. The critical reading of essays will provide a basis for the student's own critical writing, which will reflect a command of college-level literacy standards. Attention to writing fundamentals and stylistic techniques will also be included. Word processing, email and internet knowledge required.

    Prerequisite:
    Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or RDG 085 with a C or higher, and Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or RDG 085 with a B or higher and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or ENGL 092 with a B or higher or AENGL 100 with a C or higher.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26Online HATCH LWaitlisted: 0
    Register for this class
    1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pRICHARDS JWaitlisted: 2
    Register for this class
    1/8-3/25MW 8:30a-9:50aGERNAND JOpenings: 6
    Register for this class
    1/7-3/26Online HATCH LOpenings: 3
    Register for this class
    4/8-6/24MWF10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/7-6/23T10:30a-12:40pSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
  • BIO 105 *Essentials of Anatomy Physiology5 credits

    The student will develop a basic knowledge of the structure and function of the various body systems. The course emphasizes the essential structure and function of the normal human body, which will serve as a foundation of general understanding for future study in health occupations. Integration of each system to other systems and the whole organism as well as application of key concepts to health and disease are emphasized.

    Prerequisite:
    Accuplacer Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills score of 71 or higher.

    Future Offerings
    1/8-3/25MW12:30p-1:50pWALKER SOpenings: 11
    Register for this class
    4/8-6/24MW12:30p-1:50pSTAFFOpenings: 24
  • OR

  • BIOL& 160General Biology with Lab5 credits

    This course provides introduction to basic concepts of biology, with an emphasis on the cells as the fundamental unit of life. Topics include cell structure, basic chemical and biochemical concepts, metabolism, cell division, principles of genetics, biological diversity, and methods of scientific inquiry and critical thinking. Course establishes foundation necessary for continued biology study, especially in human anatomy and physiology. Lab included.

    Prerequisite:
    Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or B grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or B grade in ENGL 092 or C grade in AENGL 100 and Accuplacer Algebra score of 75 or a C grade in MATH 098.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-3/26TTh 5:30p-8:30pQUESADA AOpenings: 2
    Register for this class
    1/8-3/25MWF 9:00a-11:00aQUESADA AWaitlisted: 6
    Register for this class
    1/8-3/25MW 1:00p-4:00pQUESADA AWaitlisted: 4
    Register for this class
    4/8-6/24MW 5:30p-8:30pSTAFFOpenings: 24
    4/8-6/24MWF 1:00p-3:00pSTAFFOpenings: 24
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communication5 credits

    Designed to introduce students to the application of basic interpersonal communication theory, with a focus on achieving success in the workplace. Topics explored include self-awareness, self-disclosure, conversation skills, relationship development and maintenance, assertiveness, teamwork and group dynamics, conflict management strategies, and diversity issues.

    Prerequisite:
    Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 71 or a C grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 71 or a C grade in ENGL 092.

    Future Offerings
    1/9-3/26Th 6:00p-8:10pSMITH MOpenings: 21
    Register for this class
    1/8-3/25MW 2:10p-3:30pBURNS JOpenings: 10
    Register for this class
    1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pZAMORA AOpenings: 4
    Register for this class
    1/8-3/25MWF 8:30a-9:50aZAMORA AOpenings: 9
    Register for this class
    1/7-3/26Online ZAMORA AWaitlisted: 3
    Register for this class
    1/7-3/26Online BURNS JWaitlisted: 5
    Register for this class
    4/8-6/24MW 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/7-6/23TTh 8:00a-10:10aSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/8-6/24MWF 8:30a-9:50aSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/7-6/23TTh 6:00p-8:10pSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/7-6/23TTh 1:10p-3:20pSTAFFOpenings: 28
    4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
  • DEN 100Introduction to Dental Assisting1 credits

    This course provides information relating to the role of the Dental Assistant within the dental team. The history of dental assisting, progress of dentistry, and concepts of dental health are included. In addition, college/program policies and strategies for successful learning are incorporated.

    Prerequisite:
    BIO 105 OR BIOL& 160 with a C or higher.

    Future Offerings
    2/26-3/26W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 8
    Register for this class
    5/27-6/24W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 24
  • DEN 105Head and Neck Anatomy2 credits

    Introduction to structure of head and neck region. Emphasis on anatomical structures of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, and digestive systems as pertains to the head and neck. Also includes an overview of microbiology and disease.

    Prerequisite:
    BIO 105 or BIOL& 160 with a C or higher.

    Future Offerings
    1/7-2/19W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 8
    Register for this class
    4/7-5/20W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 24
  • HLTH 133HIV/AIDS: For Healthcare Professional1 credits

    This workshop is designed for the professional needing seven hours of HIV/AIDS education for licensure or professional update. The program utilizes a multi-media approach and meets Washington State certification requirements.


    Future Offerings
    2/7F 8:30a-4:30pWESTER LOpenings: 14
    Register for this class
    1/10-2/21Online WESTER LOpenings: 17
    Register for this class
    2/24-3/26Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
    Register for this class
    5/8F 8:30a-4:30pWESTER LOpenings: 26
    4/9-5/7Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
    5/12-6/9Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS91 credits

* Minimum requirement. List of other AAS-T class options and alternatives

Entry Information

Check out the information below to learn how you can get started!

When Can I Start?


This program typically admits students into first quarter core courses in the fall and spring. Registration for the Fall Quarter starts halfway through Spring Quarter and registration for Spring Quarters starts halfway through the Winter Quarter.

What Are The Minimum Entry Requirements?


Entry Requirements

Students who have completed ALL prerequisite requirements before the start of first quarter core courses will be allowed entry based on the order in which they register.

All Program Registration Requirements:

  • Completion (or enrollment at BTC) of the following courses with a minimum grade of 2.0 (C) or better
    • English Composition 1 (ENGL& 101)
    • Math in Society (MATH& 107) or higher
    • Essential of A&P (BIO 105) or General Biology with Lab (BIOL& 160)
    • Interpersonal Communications (CMST& 210)
    • General Psychology (PSYC& 100)
    • Introduction to Dental Assisting (DEN 100)
    • Head & Neck Anatomy (DEN 105)
  • Completion (or enrollment at BTC) of the following courses with a ‘P’ grade or submitted evidence of certification to BTC Admissions
    • 7 Hour HIV/AIDS Training (HLTH 133)
    • Healthcare Provider First Aid and CPR (HLTH 154)
  • Evidence of High School graduation or equivalent submitted to BTC Admissions Department
  • Test for Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS) handout. (Given in the DEN 100 course)
  • ONLY for students who are transferring prior credits to BTC: Official transcripts documenting prerequisite course completion must be submitted and evaluated before registration. Transcript evaluation can take up to three weeks once BTC has received the transcripts.

    What Are My Next Steps?


    1. Apply to BTC and Financial Aid
    2. Take the ACCUPLACER/Placement Test
    3. Attend an Advising & Registration Session
    4. Prepare to Attend

    Program Outcomes

    • Apply academic, technical, and professional skills to effectively contribute to the dental health team.
    • Apply cognitive retention of dental terminology, theory, and science.
    • Expose and evaluate intraoral and extraoral radiographs implementing radiation safety and processing skills.
    • Verify critical thinking, problem solving, and positive work ethics as they directly relate to the Dental Assistant profession.
    • Validate the importance of National Certification and participation in professional activities and education opportunities.

    Laura Doss - Instructor image

    Laura Doss

    Area of Instruction


    Student Services

    Contact Info


    360-752-8548
    ldoss@btc.edu
    College Services (CS) - Room 105

     

    Office Hours


    Usual office hours are:

      Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

     
     

    Background


    Profile
    Laura Doss has been at BTC for 10 years in the roles of Academic & Career Advisor, Student Navigator, Instructor, Completion Coach and now College Nav...

      • Laura Doss has been at BTC for 10 years in the roles of Academic & Career Advisor, Student Navigator, Instructor, Completion Coach and now College Navigator for the Allied Health Programs. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science while serving in the US Army and stationed in Germany and her Master of Education while stationed at Fort Sill, OK. Her initial education and training was in the mental health field before moving into education. Outside of work, Laura likes to spend time with her four kids, walking the trails, cuddling with her tiny dog and reading a ton of books!


    Alisa Wollens - Instructor image

    Alisa Wollens

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Hygiene

    Degrees and Certifications


    MBA, Healthcare Management, Western Governors Univeristy

    BS, Dental Hygiene, Loma Linda University

    Certified Dental Assistant, Dental Assisting National Board

    Registered Dental Assistant, States of Washington and California

    Registered Dental Hygienist, States of Washington and California

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    Contact Info


    360 752-8570
    AWollens@btc.edu
    B Building (B) - Room B8-B


    Karen McGuinn - Instructor image

    Karen McGuinn

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Assisting

    Degrees and Certifications


    BAS, Professional Technical Teacher Education, South Seattle College

    AAST, Professional Technical Education, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Dental Assisting, Bellingham Vocational Technical Institute

    Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant

    Certified Dental Assistant

    Registered Dental Assistant, State of Washington

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    Contact Info


    360 752-8315
    kmcguinn@btc.edu
    C Building (C) - Room C1-F

     

    Office Hours


    Usual office hours are:

      Monday - Friday from 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm

     


    Julie Williams - Instructor image

    Julie Williams

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Assisting

    Degrees and Certifications


    BA, Leadership, Trinity Western University

    AAST, DTA, Whatcom Community College

    Certificate, Dental Assisting, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary, Bellingham Technical College

    Contact Info


    360-752-8408
    JWilliams@btc.edu
    B Building (B) - Room B8-A


    Dental Assisting Programs

    Take the right steps to launch your career as a dental assistant. The Dental Assisting Program at Bellingham Technical College will provide top job training so you’ll learn how to assist dentists in caring for patients and how to work effectively in a dental office and in the lab.

    By successfully completing BTC’s top training in Dental Assisting, you will achieve the following outcomes to be a successful dental assistant who can:

    • Apply academic, technical, and professional skills to effectively contribute to the dental health team.

    • Apply cognitive retention of dental terminology, theory, and science.

    • Expose and evaluate intraoral and extraoral radiographs using radiation safety and processing skills.

    • Apply critical-thinking, problem-solving, and positive work ethics as they directly relate to the dental assistant profession.

    • Validate the importance of national certification and participation in professional activities and education opportunities for further dental assistant training.

    Associate Degree & Certificate Programs

    Choose BTC’s Dental Assisting Program to train for a position as a dental assistant. Learn how to provide patient care, perform office duties and lab work, while working alongside dentists as they examine and treat their patients.

    The AAS-T degree in Dental Assisting prepares you for a variety of bachelor’s degree programs with transferable coursework and in-demand technical skills. You’ll be ready to apply to selected four-year degree programs at a college or university. Or, like students who choose the associate (AAS) degree, you can go directly to work as a dental assistant after graduation from BTC.

    The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, which is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Students also may choose the Dental Assisting Certificate, an 86 credit-hour program.

    After acceptance into the Dental Assisting Program and before beginning courses, students will need to fulfill pre-program requirements for the AAS and AAS-T degrees or Dental Assisting Certificate.

    Dental Assisting Jobs & Employment

    Graduates of the Dental Assisting Program find employment opportunities in Bellingham and throughout Washington state in dental, orthodontic, and periodontal offices, as well as in hospitals, public health departments, or clinics.

    BTC’s top-quality dental assistant training is widely respected by dental professionals. That’s why 93% of BTC Dental Assisting students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $42,682, with an earning potential of about $50,898 per year.

    Bellingham Technical College’s dental assistant degree and certificate programs offer hands-on education and courses to sharpen your communication skills so you can be a vital member of dental health care teams.

    Employment Information


    93% BTC graduate placement rate

    $35,776 starting annual wage

    $42,682 average annual wage

    $50,898 potential annual wage

    Employment and wage data sources

    Estimated Program Costs:


    Estimated Books, Tools and Supplies Costs

    Tuition Fees and Rates

    The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Jobs & Employment

    Employment opportunities for dental assistants in Washington State are expected to grow due to rapid employment growth and above average job turnover.

    About 93% of BTC Dental Assisting students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $42,682, with an earning potential of about $50,898 per year.

    Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

    Potential Positions

    Most dental assistants are employed by private dental offices. Dental assistants may also be employed by orthodontists, periodontists, hospitals, dental schools, state and local public health departments, the military, or in clinics. Although most program graduates work as dental assistants, opportunities may also exist for employment as research assistants or sales representatives.

    Courses

    Use this tool to see this program's course offerings for upcoming quarters

    Select Catalog     

    Courses are from the Catalog

    TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS91 credits

    • Quarter 1
    • DEN 110Dental Foundations5 credits

      This course provides the student with the foundation necessary to enter into the Bellingham Technical College Dental Clinic. The student will gain the knowledge and skills required to maintain a safe dental environment. Also included are federal and state regulations regarding chemical use, infection control, and medical emergencies in the dental office. This course introduces basic concepts of radiography. Students learn how to correctly and safely evaluate need for x-rays including: expose, process, and mount intraoral radiographs utilizing the bitewing technique.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
    • DEN 112Chairside Assisting I7 credits

      This course provides the student with the knowledge and skills needed to operate and maintain typical equipment found in a dental operatory. The student will gain an understanding of the design, function, and maintenance of handpieces, dental instruments and the dental unit water/vacuum line. This course will also focus on the theory and delivery of basic dental assisting skills such as: dental ergonomics, principles of team positioning, instrument transfer and oral evacuation.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
    • DEN 114Dental Sciences4 credits

      This course focuses on related biomedical sciences that are the foundation of the Dental Assistant curriculum. Course content includes basic oral embryology, histology and tooth morphology. Concepts of oral pathology and oral inspection will be introduced. The course covers the impact of blood borne pathogens and how they relate to the field of dentistry.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
    • DEN 115Dental Clinic Practicum I6 credits

      This course provides a clinical introduction for the student. Students will be assigned to a variety of weekly clinical responsibilities. They will begin their duties with a mentor and eventually move to independent competencies. Students will gain hands-on experience in front office, clinical coordination, x-ray processing, patient intake, and sterilization. Toward the end of clinical practice phase I, they will begin assisting and documenting dental exams and dental hygiene appointments.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24MF 7:30a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 12
    • Quarter 2
    • DEN 120Patient Assessment8 credits

      This course provides the student with the level of knowledge and skills required for the dental assistant to accurately collect and assess patient data. The student will have the opportunity to learn and practice the skills associated with collecting a health history, obtaining vital signs, assisting with medical emergencies, and assisting the dentist in the diagnostic stages of dental treatment. Pharmacology and anesthesia will be presented as it relates to dentistry and oral health. This course also includes instruction on dental office administration, concentrating on specific job duties in the Bellingham Technical College Dental Clinic.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • DEN 122Chairside Assisting II6 credits

      Provides the student with appropriate skills required to perform routine dental procedures. Instruction will include the use and manipulation of dental instrument setups, restorative materials, isolation techniques and how to effectively transfer instruments when assisting in a dental procedure.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • DEN 124Radiography3 credits

      The student will learn to accurately and safely expose, process and mount full mouth periapicals, maxillary and mandibular occlusal films. Also including panoramic radiographs utilizing a variety of techniques. This course will provide the skills necessary to produce films with optimal diagnostic quality on a variety of patient situations including: pedodontics, edentulous and extra oral.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • DEN 125Dental Clinic Practicum II4 credits

      Orients the student and identifies the clinic competencies that must be successfully demonstrated in order for the student to advance to DEN 135. This course provides the hands-on experience required for front office, clinic coordination, and assistive functions with the clinic dentist and dental hygienist.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26MF 7:30a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • Quarter 3
    • DEN 130Preventative Dentistry3 credits

      This course provides the student with a working knowledge of preventative dentistry, good oral hygiene and nutrition. Students will learn how to promote preventative dentistry in the office and the procedures available to curb oral diseases including: dental caries and periodontal disease.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 132Dental Specialties1 credits

      Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to assist in dental specialties including: prosthodontics, oral surgery, pediatrics and orthodontics.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a minimum grade of C in each course

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 134Laboratory Procedures2 credits

      Enables students to develop skills in the use and manipulation of dental materials and lab equipment. Taking, pouring, separating, trimming, and finishing study modules and preparing custom trays will be included in this course.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 132 with a C or higher (Pre or Co Requisite)

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 135Dental Clinic Practicum III4 credits

      This course is a continuation of DEN 125. It provides the hands-on experience required for front office, clinic coordination, and assistive functions with the clinic dentist and dental hygienist. The student must successfully demonstrate the required clinic competencies in order to be eligible to participate in the extramural experience.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26MF 7:30a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 5
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24MF 7:30a-3:30pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 137Extramural Practicum8 credits

      Allows students to apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained in the Dental Assistant Program. Expected behaviors regarding office policies, record keeping, and evaluation procedures, as an employee and team member, are explored. Ethical and legal concerns are also addressed. Students are then placed in a variety of local dental offices where they apply skills related to basic chairside, oral hygiene and operative dentistry.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-5:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-5:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • Pre-Program
    • AENGL 100 *Applied English5 credits

      This applied English course focuses on the workplace communication skills needed to send, receive, and process oral and written information. Along with a review of writing fundamentals, learners will use principles of clear communication, professionalism, and cultural awareness in occupational contexts. Learners will sharpen their reading, writing, and presentation skills.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 71 or a C grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 71 or a C grade in ENGL 092.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/24T 6:00p-8:10pNELSON NOpenings: 6
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh10:30a-12:40pRICHARDS JOpenings: 10
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW10:10a-11:30aBURNS JOpenings: 21
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 8:00a-10:10aGERNAND JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LWaitlisted: 0
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LOpenings: 19
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MWF 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MW10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • OR

    • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 credits

      A composition course in which students read, analyze, and write essays using a variety of rhetorical strategies, as well as develop and verbally express ideas clearly and effectively. The critical reading of essays will provide a basis for the student's own critical writing, which will reflect a command of college-level literacy standards. Attention to writing fundamentals and stylistic techniques will also be included. Word processing, email and internet knowledge required.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or RDG 085 with a C or higher, and Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or RDG 085 with a B or higher and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or ENGL 092 with a B or higher or AENGL 100 with a C or higher.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LWaitlisted: 0
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pRICHARDS JWaitlisted: 2
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW 8:30a-9:50aGERNAND JOpenings: 6
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LOpenings: 3
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MWF10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23T10:30a-12:40pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 credits

      This course emphasizes mathematics used in the professional technical occupations. Students will learn mathematical skills in the following: fractions, decimals, percents, ratios & proportions, U.S. Customary Units and metric measurement systems, basic geometry and elementary algebra. The course will include relevent technical applications and the use of a calculator.

      Prerequisite:
      ACCUPLACER Arithmetic score of 38 or ABE 050 with a C or higher or approved alternative placement criteria.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pHEGEBERG LOpenings: 18
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 8:00a-10:10aNEWTON KOpenings: 12
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF 2:10p-3:30pMAXWELL LOpenings: 22
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HEGEBERG LWaitlisted: 1
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/23TTh 1:10p-3:20pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MWF 8:30a-9:50aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MWF 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • BIO 105 *Essentials of Anatomy Physiology5 credits

      The student will develop a basic knowledge of the structure and function of the various body systems. The course emphasizes the essential structure and function of the normal human body, which will serve as a foundation of general understanding for future study in health occupations. Integration of each system to other systems and the whole organism as well as application of key concepts to health and disease are emphasized.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills score of 71 or higher.

      Future Offerings
      1/8-3/25MW12:30p-1:50pWALKER SOpenings: 11
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MW12:30p-1:50pSTAFFOpenings: 24
    • OR

    • BIOL& 160General Biology with Lab5 credits

      This course provides introduction to basic concepts of biology, with an emphasis on the cells as the fundamental unit of life. Topics include cell structure, basic chemical and biochemical concepts, metabolism, cell division, principles of genetics, biological diversity, and methods of scientific inquiry and critical thinking. Course establishes foundation necessary for continued biology study, especially in human anatomy and physiology. Lab included.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or B grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or B grade in ENGL 092 or C grade in AENGL 100 and Accuplacer Algebra score of 75 or a C grade in MATH 098.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26TTh 5:30p-8:30pQUESADA AOpenings: 2
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF 9:00a-11:00aQUESADA AWaitlisted: 6
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW 1:00p-4:00pQUESADA AWaitlisted: 4
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MW 5:30p-8:30pSTAFFOpenings: 24
      4/8-6/24MWF 1:00p-3:00pSTAFFOpenings: 24
    • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communication5 credits

      Designed to introduce students to the application of basic interpersonal communication theory, with a focus on achieving success in the workplace. Topics explored include self-awareness, self-disclosure, conversation skills, relationship development and maintenance, assertiveness, teamwork and group dynamics, conflict management strategies, and diversity issues.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 71 or a C grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 71 or a C grade in ENGL 092.

      Future Offerings
      1/9-3/26Th 6:00p-8:10pSMITH MOpenings: 21
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW 2:10p-3:30pBURNS JOpenings: 10
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pZAMORA AOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF 8:30a-9:50aZAMORA AOpenings: 9
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online ZAMORA AWaitlisted: 3
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online BURNS JWaitlisted: 5
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MW 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23TTh 8:00a-10:10aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MWF 8:30a-9:50aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23TTh 6:00p-8:10pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23TTh 1:10p-3:20pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • DEN 100Introduction to Dental Assisting1 credits

      This course provides information relating to the role of the Dental Assistant within the dental team. The history of dental assisting, progress of dentistry, and concepts of dental health are included. In addition, college/program policies and strategies for successful learning are incorporated.

      Prerequisite:
      BIO 105 OR BIOL& 160 with a C or higher.

      Future Offerings
      2/26-3/26W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 8
      Register for this class
      5/27-6/24W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 24
    • DEN 105Head and Neck Anatomy2 credits

      Introduction to structure of head and neck region. Emphasis on anatomical structures of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, and digestive systems as pertains to the head and neck. Also includes an overview of microbiology and disease.

      Prerequisite:
      BIO 105 or BIOL& 160 with a C or higher.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-2/19W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 8
      Register for this class
      4/7-5/20W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 24
    • HLTH 133HIV/AIDS: For Healthcare Professional1 credits

      This workshop is designed for the professional needing seven hours of HIV/AIDS education for licensure or professional update. The program utilizes a multi-media approach and meets Washington State certification requirements.


      Future Offerings
      2/7F 8:30a-4:30pWESTER LOpenings: 14
      Register for this class
      1/10-2/21Online WESTER LOpenings: 17
      Register for this class
      2/24-3/26Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
      Register for this class
      5/8F 8:30a-4:30pWESTER LOpenings: 26
      4/9-5/7Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
      5/12-6/9Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
    • HLTH 154HealthCare Provider First Aid and CPR1 credits

      This course will teach both professional level CPR and first aid. CPR will cover adult, child and infant skills, barrier devices and use of the AED (automated external defibrillator). The first aid component will cover all requirements per OSHA and WISHA and will discuss some advanced first aid skills. The CPR portion does require a written exam to be passed with 84% as well as skills evaluation prior to card issuance. Text required.


      Future Offerings
      1/18-1/25Sa 9:00a-2:00pSTAFFWaitlisted: 2
      Join the Waitlist for this class
      2/19W 6:00p-9:00pSTAFFOpenings: 5
      Register for this class
      6/6-6/13Sa 9:00a-2:00pSTAFFOpenings: 12
      Register for this class
      5/6W 6:00p-9:00pSTAFFOpenings: 12
      Register for this class
    • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 credits

      An overview of the factors affecting behavior including topics related to theories of learning, the senses, perceptions, nervous system, emotions, personality theory, motivation, abnormal behavior and therapy, and social psychology.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or B grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or B grade in ENGL 092 or C grade in AENGL 100.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26Online SMITH MWaitlisted: 6
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF10:10a-11:30aSMITH MOpenings: 19
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW12:30p-1:50pSMITH MWaitlisted: 0
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MWF10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MW 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS91 credits

    * Minimum requirement. List of other Certificate or AAS General Education class options and alternatives

    Entry Information

    Check out the information below to learn how you can get started!

    When Can I Start?


    This program typically admits students into first quarter core courses in the fall and spring. Registration for Fall Quarters starts halfway through Spring Quarter and registration for Spring Quarters starts halfway through the Winter Quarter.

    Students who have completed ALL prerequisite requirements before the start of first quarter core courses will be allowed entry based on the order in which they register.

    All Program Registration Requirements:

  • Completion (or enrollment at BTC) of the following courses with a minimum grade of 2.0 (C) or better
    • Applied English (AENGL 100) or English Composition 1 (ENGL& 101)
    • Applied Occupational Math (AMATH 100) or higher
    • Essential of A&P (BIO 105) or General Biology with Lab (BIOL& 160)
    • Interpersonal Communications (CMST& 210)
    • General Psychology (PSYC& 100)
    • Introduction to Dental Assisting (DEN 100)
    • Head & Neck Anatomy (DEN 105)
  • Completion (or enrollment at BTC) of the following courses with a ‘P’ grade or submitted evidence of certification to BTC Admissions
    • 7 Hour HIV/AIDS Training (HLTH 133)
    • Healthcare Provider First Aid and CPR (HLTH 154)
  • Evidence of High School graduation or equivalent submitted to BTC Admissions Department
  • Test for Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS) handout. (Given in the DEN 100 course)
  • ONLY for students who are transferring prior credits to BTC: Official transcripts documenting prerequisite course completion must be submitted and evaluated before registration. Transcript evaluation can take up to three weeks once BTC has received the transcripts.

    What Are The Minimum Entry Requirements?


    Physical Requirements


    • Dental Assisting-Bloodborne Pathogen Policy

      NOTE: Students will be charged a fee of approximately $119 for the background check, drug screen, and tracking of required health documents. Health documents will need to be completed and submitted to the appropriate department after students have registered for the first quarter classes and before the start of the program. You will be notified with instructions/information regarding these requirements by the department after registration.

    • Clinical Placement Requirement Info Sheet

    What Are My Next Steps?


    1. Apply to BTC and Financial Aid
    2. Take the ACCUPLACER/Placement Test
    3. Attend an Advising & Registration Session
    4. Prepare to Attend

    Program Outcomes

    • Apply academic, technical, and professional skills to effectively contribute to the dental health team
    • Apply cognitive retention of dental terminology, theory, and science
    • Expose and evaluate intraoral and extraoral radiographs implementing radiation safety and processing skills
    • Verify critical thinking, problem solving, and positive work ethics as they directly relate to the Dental Assistant profession
    • Validate the importance of National Certification and participation in professional activities and education opportunities.

    Laura Doss - Instructor image

    Laura Doss

    Area of Instruction


    Student Services

    Contact Info


    360-752-8548
    ldoss@btc.edu
    College Services (CS) - Room 105

     

    Office Hours


    Usual office hours are:

      Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

     
     

    Background


    Profile
    Laura Doss has been at BTC for 10 years in the roles of Academic & Career Advisor, Student Navigator, Instructor, Completion Coach and now College Nav...

      • Laura Doss has been at BTC for 10 years in the roles of Academic & Career Advisor, Student Navigator, Instructor, Completion Coach and now College Navigator for the Allied Health Programs. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science while serving in the US Army and stationed in Germany and her Master of Education while stationed at Fort Sill, OK. Her initial education and training was in the mental health field before moving into education. Outside of work, Laura likes to spend time with her four kids, walking the trails, cuddling with her tiny dog and reading a ton of books!


    Alisa Wollens - Instructor image

    Alisa Wollens

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Hygiene

    Degrees and Certifications


    MBA, Healthcare Management, Western Governors Univeristy

    BS, Dental Hygiene, Loma Linda University

    Certified Dental Assistant, Dental Assisting National Board

    Registered Dental Assistant, States of Washington and California

    Registered Dental Hygienist, States of Washington and California

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    Contact Info


    360 752-8570
    AWollens@btc.edu
    B Building (B) - Room B8-B


    Karen McGuinn - Instructor image

    Karen McGuinn

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Assisting

    Degrees and Certifications


    BAS, Professional Technical Teacher Education, South Seattle College

    AAST, Professional Technical Education, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Dental Assisting, Bellingham Vocational Technical Institute

    Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant

    Certified Dental Assistant

    Registered Dental Assistant, State of Washington

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    Contact Info


    360 752-8315
    kmcguinn@btc.edu
    C Building (C) - Room C1-F

     

    Office Hours


    Usual office hours are:

      Monday - Friday from 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm

     


    Julie Williams - Instructor image

    Julie Williams

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Assisting

    Degrees and Certifications


    BA, Leadership, Trinity Western University

    AAST, DTA, Whatcom Community College

    Certificate, Dental Assisting, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary, Bellingham Technical College

    Contact Info


    360-752-8408
    JWilliams@btc.edu
    B Building (B) - Room B8-A


    Dental Assisting Certificate

    Choose BTC’s Dental Assisting program to train for a position as a dental assistant. Learn how to provide patient care, perform office duties and lab work, while working alongside dentists as they examine and treat their patients.

    Graduates will find employment opportunities with dental, orthodontic, and periodontal offices, as well as hospitals, public health departments, or in clinics.

    Employment Information


    93% BTC graduate placement rate

    $35,776 starting annual wage

    $42,682 average annual wage

    $50,898 potential annual wage

    Employment and wage data sources

    Tuition Fees and Rates

    The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Jobs & Employment

    Employment opportunities for dental assistants in Washington State are expected to grow due to rapid employment growth and above average job turnover.

    About 93% of BTC Dental Assisting students are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $42,682, with an earning potential of about $50,898 per year.

    Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

    Potential Positions

    Most dental assistants are employed by private dental offices. Dental assistants may also be employed by orthodontists, periodontists, hospitals, dental schools, state and local public health departments, the military, or in clinics. Although most program graduates work as dental assistants, opportunities may also exist for employment as research assistants or sales representatives.

    Courses

    Use this tool to see this program's course offerings for upcoming quarters

    Select Catalog     

    Courses are from the Catalog

    TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS86 credits

    • HLTH 133HIV/AIDS: For Healthcare Professional1 credits

      This workshop is designed for the professional needing seven hours of HIV/AIDS education for licensure or professional update. The program utilizes a multi-media approach and meets Washington State certification requirements.


      Future Offerings
      2/7F 8:30a-4:30pWESTER LOpenings: 14
      Register for this class
      1/10-2/21Online WESTER LOpenings: 17
      Register for this class
      2/24-3/26Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
      Register for this class
      5/8F 8:30a-4:30pWESTER LOpenings: 26
      4/9-5/7Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
      5/12-6/9Online WESTER LOpenings: 50
    • HLTH 154HealthCare Provider First Aid and CPR1 credits

      This course will teach both professional level CPR and first aid. CPR will cover adult, child and infant skills, barrier devices and use of the AED (automated external defibrillator). The first aid component will cover all requirements per OSHA and WISHA and will discuss some advanced first aid skills. The CPR portion does require a written exam to be passed with 84% as well as skills evaluation prior to card issuance. Text required.


      Future Offerings
      1/18-1/25Sa 9:00a-2:00pSTAFFWaitlisted: 2
      Join the Waitlist for this class
      2/19W 6:00p-9:00pSTAFFOpenings: 5
      Register for this class
      6/6-6/13Sa 9:00a-2:00pSTAFFOpenings: 12
      Register for this class
      5/6W 6:00p-9:00pSTAFFOpenings: 12
      Register for this class
    • Quarter 1
    • DEN 110Dental Foundations5 credits

      This course provides the student with the foundation necessary to enter into the Bellingham Technical College Dental Clinic. The student will gain the knowledge and skills required to maintain a safe dental environment. Also included are federal and state regulations regarding chemical use, infection control, and medical emergencies in the dental office. This course introduces basic concepts of radiography. Students learn how to correctly and safely evaluate need for x-rays including: expose, process, and mount intraoral radiographs utilizing the bitewing technique.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
    • DEN 112Chairside Assisting I7 credits

      This course provides the student with the knowledge and skills needed to operate and maintain typical equipment found in a dental operatory. The student will gain an understanding of the design, function, and maintenance of handpieces, dental instruments and the dental unit water/vacuum line. This course will also focus on the theory and delivery of basic dental assisting skills such as: dental ergonomics, principles of team positioning, instrument transfer and oral evacuation.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
    • DEN 114Dental Sciences4 credits

      This course focuses on related biomedical sciences that are the foundation of the Dental Assistant curriculum. Course content includes basic oral embryology, histology and tooth morphology. Concepts of oral pathology and oral inspection will be introduced. The course covers the impact of blood borne pathogens and how they relate to the field of dentistry.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 11
    • DEN 115Dental Clinic Practicum I6 credits

      This course provides a clinical introduction for the student. Students will be assigned to a variety of weekly clinical responsibilities. They will begin their duties with a mentor and eventually move to independent competencies. Students will gain hands-on experience in front office, clinical coordination, x-ray processing, patient intake, and sterilization. Toward the end of clinical practice phase I, they will begin assisting and documenting dental exams and dental hygiene appointments.

      Prerequisite:
      Dental Assisting Program Admission

      Future Offerings
      4/7-6/24MF 7:30a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 12
    • Quarter 2
    • DEN 120Patient Assessment8 credits

      This course provides the student with the level of knowledge and skills required for the dental assistant to accurately collect and assess patient data. The student will have the opportunity to learn and practice the skills associated with collecting a health history, obtaining vital signs, assisting with medical emergencies, and assisting the dentist in the diagnostic stages of dental treatment. Pharmacology and anesthesia will be presented as it relates to dentistry and oral health. This course also includes instruction on dental office administration, concentrating on specific job duties in the Bellingham Technical College Dental Clinic.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • DEN 122Chairside Assisting II6 credits

      Provides the student with appropriate skills required to perform routine dental procedures. Instruction will include the use and manipulation of dental instrument setups, restorative materials, isolation techniques and how to effectively transfer instruments when assisting in a dental procedure.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • DEN 124Radiography3 credits

      The student will learn to accurately and safely expose, process and mount full mouth periapicals, maxillary and mandibular occlusal films. Also including panoramic radiographs utilizing a variety of techniques. This course will provide the skills necessary to produce films with optimal diagnostic quality on a variety of patient situations including: pedodontics, edentulous and extra oral.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • DEN 125Dental Clinic Practicum II4 credits

      Orients the student and identifies the clinic competencies that must be successfully demonstrated in order for the student to advance to DEN 135. This course provides the hands-on experience required for front office, clinic coordination, and assistive functions with the clinic dentist and dental hygienist.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 110, DEN 112, DEN 114, & DEN 115 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26MF 7:30a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
    • Quarter 3
    • DEN 130Preventative Dentistry3 credits

      This course provides the student with a working knowledge of preventative dentistry, good oral hygiene and nutrition. Students will learn how to promote preventative dentistry in the office and the procedures available to curb oral diseases including: dental caries and periodontal disease.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 132Dental Specialties1 credits

      Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to assist in dental specialties including: prosthodontics, oral surgery, pediatrics and orthodontics.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a minimum grade of C in each course

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 134Laboratory Procedures2 credits

      Enables students to develop skills in the use and manipulation of dental materials and lab equipment. Taking, pouring, separating, trimming, and finishing study modules and preparing custom trays will be included in this course.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 132 with a C or higher (Pre or Co Requisite)

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-3:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 135Dental Clinic Practicum III4 credits

      This course is a continuation of DEN 125. It provides the hands-on experience required for front office, clinic coordination, and assistive functions with the clinic dentist and dental hygienist. The student must successfully demonstrate the required clinic competencies in order to be eligible to participate in the extramural experience.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26MF 7:30a-3:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 5
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24MF 7:30a-3:30pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • DEN 137Extramural Practicum8 credits

      Allows students to apply knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained in the Dental Assistant Program. Expected behaviors regarding office policies, record keeping, and evaluation procedures, as an employee and team member, are explored. Ethical and legal concerns are also addressed. Students are then placed in a variety of local dental offices where they apply skills related to basic chairside, oral hygiene and operative dentistry.

      Prerequisite:
      DEN 120, DEN 122, DEN 124, & DEN 125 with a C or higher in each course.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26DAILY 8:00a-5:00pMCGUINN KOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/24DAILY 8:00a-5:00pWILLIAMS JOpenings: 12
    • Pre-Program
    • AENGL 100 *Applied English5 credits

      This applied English course focuses on the workplace communication skills needed to send, receive, and process oral and written information. Along with a review of writing fundamentals, learners will use principles of clear communication, professionalism, and cultural awareness in occupational contexts. Learners will sharpen their reading, writing, and presentation skills.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 71 or a C grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 71 or a C grade in ENGL 092.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/24T 6:00p-8:10pNELSON NOpenings: 6
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh10:30a-12:40pRICHARDS JOpenings: 10
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW10:10a-11:30aBURNS JOpenings: 21
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 8:00a-10:10aGERNAND JOpenings: 1
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LWaitlisted: 0
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LOpenings: 19
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MWF 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MW10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • OR

    • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 credits

      A composition course in which students read, analyze, and write essays using a variety of rhetorical strategies, as well as develop and verbally express ideas clearly and effectively. The critical reading of essays will provide a basis for the student's own critical writing, which will reflect a command of college-level literacy standards. Attention to writing fundamentals and stylistic techniques will also be included. Word processing, email and internet knowledge required.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or RDG 085 with a C or higher, and Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or RDG 085 with a B or higher and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or ENGL 092 with a B or higher or AENGL 100 with a C or higher.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LWaitlisted: 0
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pRICHARDS JWaitlisted: 2
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW 8:30a-9:50aGERNAND JOpenings: 6
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HATCH LOpenings: 3
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MWF10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23T10:30a-12:40pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 credits

      This course emphasizes mathematics used in the professional technical occupations. Students will learn mathematical skills in the following: fractions, decimals, percents, ratios & proportions, U.S. Customary Units and metric measurement systems, basic geometry and elementary algebra. The course will include relevent technical applications and the use of a calculator.

      Prerequisite:
      ACCUPLACER Arithmetic score of 38 or ABE 050 with a C or higher or approved alternative placement criteria.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pHEGEBERG LOpenings: 18
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 8:00a-10:10aNEWTON KOpenings: 12
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF 2:10p-3:30pMAXWELL LOpenings: 22
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online HEGEBERG LWaitlisted: 1
      Register for this class
      4/7-6/23TTh 1:10p-3:20pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MWF 8:30a-9:50aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MWF 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • BIO 105 *Essentials of Anatomy Physiology5 credits

      The student will develop a basic knowledge of the structure and function of the various body systems. The course emphasizes the essential structure and function of the normal human body, which will serve as a foundation of general understanding for future study in health occupations. Integration of each system to other systems and the whole organism as well as application of key concepts to health and disease are emphasized.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills score of 71 or higher.

      Future Offerings
      1/8-3/25MW12:30p-1:50pWALKER SOpenings: 11
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MW12:30p-1:50pSTAFFOpenings: 24
    • OR

    • BIOL& 160General Biology with Lab5 credits

      This course provides introduction to basic concepts of biology, with an emphasis on the cells as the fundamental unit of life. Topics include cell structure, basic chemical and biochemical concepts, metabolism, cell division, principles of genetics, biological diversity, and methods of scientific inquiry and critical thinking. Course establishes foundation necessary for continued biology study, especially in human anatomy and physiology. Lab included.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or B grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or B grade in ENGL 092 or C grade in AENGL 100 and Accuplacer Algebra score of 75 or a C grade in MATH 098.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26TTh 5:30p-8:30pQUESADA AOpenings: 2
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF 9:00a-11:00aQUESADA AWaitlisted: 6
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW 1:00p-4:00pQUESADA AWaitlisted: 4
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MW 5:30p-8:30pSTAFFOpenings: 24
      4/8-6/24MWF 1:00p-3:00pSTAFFOpenings: 24
    • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communication5 credits

      Designed to introduce students to the application of basic interpersonal communication theory, with a focus on achieving success in the workplace. Topics explored include self-awareness, self-disclosure, conversation skills, relationship development and maintenance, assertiveness, teamwork and group dynamics, conflict management strategies, and diversity issues.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 71 or a C grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 71 or a C grade in ENGL 092.

      Future Offerings
      1/9-3/26Th 6:00p-8:10pSMITH MOpenings: 21
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW 2:10p-3:30pBURNS JOpenings: 10
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26TTh 1:10p-3:20pZAMORA AOpenings: 4
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF 8:30a-9:50aZAMORA AOpenings: 9
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online ZAMORA AWaitlisted: 3
      Register for this class
      1/7-3/26Online BURNS JWaitlisted: 5
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MW 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23TTh 8:00a-10:10aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MWF 8:30a-9:50aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23TTh 6:00p-8:10pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/23TTh 1:10p-3:20pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • OR

    • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 credits

      An overview of the factors affecting behavior including topics related to theories of learning, the senses, perceptions, nervous system, emotions, personality theory, motivation, abnormal behavior and therapy, and social psychology.

      Prerequisite:
      Accuplacer Reading Comprehension score of 85 or B grade in RDG 085, and Accuplacer Sentence Skills score of 86 or B grade in ENGL 092 or C grade in AENGL 100.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-3/26Online SMITH MWaitlisted: 6
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MWF10:10a-11:30aSMITH MOpenings: 19
      Register for this class
      1/8-3/25MW12:30p-1:50pSMITH MWaitlisted: 0
      Register for this class
      4/8-6/24MWF10:10a-11:30aSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/8-6/24MW 2:10p-3:30pSTAFFOpenings: 28
      4/7-6/24Online STAFFOpenings: 26
    • DEN 100Introduction to Dental Assisting1 credits

      This course provides information relating to the role of the Dental Assistant within the dental team. The history of dental assisting, progress of dentistry, and concepts of dental health are included. In addition, college/program policies and strategies for successful learning are incorporated.

      Prerequisite:
      BIO 105 OR BIOL& 160 with a C or higher.

      Future Offerings
      2/26-3/26W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 8
      Register for this class
      5/27-6/24W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 24
    • DEN 105Head and Neck Anatomy2 credits

      Introduction to structure of head and neck region. Emphasis on anatomical structures of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, and digestive systems as pertains to the head and neck. Also includes an overview of microbiology and disease.

      Prerequisite:
      BIO 105 or BIOL& 160 with a C or higher.

      Future Offerings
      1/7-2/19W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 8
      Register for this class
      4/7-5/20W 3:30p-6:30pMCGUINN KOpenings: 24
    TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS86 credits

    * Minimum requirement. List of other Certificate or AAS General Education class options and alternatives

    Entry Information

    Check out the information below to learn how you can get started!

    When Can I Start?


    This program typically admits students into first quarter core courses in the fall and spring. Registration for Fall Quarters starts halfway through Spring Quarter and registration for Spring Quarters starts halfway through the Winter Quarter.

    What Are The Minimum Entry Requirements?


    Entry Requirements

    Students who have completed ALL prerequisite requirements before the start of first quarter core courses will be allowed entry based on the order in which they register.

    All Program Registration Requirements:

  • Completion (or enrollment at BTC) of the following courses with a minimum grade of 2.0 (C) or better
    • Applied English (AENGL 100) or English Composition 1 (ENGL& 101)
    • Applied Occupational Math (AMATH 100) or higher
    • Essential of A&P (BIO 105) or General Biology with Lab (BIOL& 160)
    • Interpersonal Communications (CMST& 210) or General Psychology (PSYC& 100)
    • Introduction to Dental Assisting (DEN 100)
    • Head &Neck Anatomy (DEN 105)
  • Completion (or enrollment at BTC) of the following courses with a ‘P’ grade or submitted evidence of certification to BTC Admissions
    • 7 Hour HIV/AIDS Training (HLTH 133)
    • Healthcare Provider First Aid and CPR (HLTH 154)
  • Evidence of High School graduation or equivalent submitted to BTC Admissions Department
  • Test for Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS) handout. (Given in the DEN 100 course)
  • Program Outcomes

    • Apply academic, technical, and professional skills to effectively contribute to the dental health team.
    • Apply cognitive retention of dental terminology, theory, and science.
    • Expose and evaluate intraoral and extraoral radiographs implementing radiation safety and processing skills.
    • Verify critical thinking, problem solving, and positive work ethics as they directly relate to the Dental Assistant profession.
    • Validate the importance of National Certification and participation in professional activities and education opportunities.

    Laura Doss - Instructor image

    Laura Doss

    Area of Instruction


    Student Services

    Contact Info


    360-752-8548
    ldoss@btc.edu
    College Services (CS) - Room 105

     

    Office Hours


    Usual office hours are:

      Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

     
     

    Background


    Profile
    Laura Doss has been at BTC for 10 years in the roles of Academic & Career Advisor, Student Navigator, Instructor, Completion Coach and now College Nav...

      • Laura Doss has been at BTC for 10 years in the roles of Academic & Career Advisor, Student Navigator, Instructor, Completion Coach and now College Navigator for the Allied Health Programs. Laura earned her Bachelor of Science while serving in the US Army and stationed in Germany and her Master of Education while stationed at Fort Sill, OK. Her initial education and training was in the mental health field before moving into education. Outside of work, Laura likes to spend time with her four kids, walking the trails, cuddling with her tiny dog and reading a ton of books!


    Alisa Wollens - Instructor image

    Alisa Wollens

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Hygiene

    Degrees and Certifications


    MBA, Healthcare Management, Western Governors Univeristy

    BS, Dental Hygiene, Loma Linda University

    Certified Dental Assistant, Dental Assisting National Board

    Registered Dental Assistant, States of Washington and California

    Registered Dental Hygienist, States of Washington and California

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    Contact Info


    360 752-8570
    AWollens@btc.edu
    B Building (B) - Room B8-B


    Karen McGuinn - Instructor image

    Karen McGuinn

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Assisting

    Degrees and Certifications


    BAS, Professional Technical Teacher Education, South Seattle College

    AAST, Professional Technical Education, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Dental Assisting, Bellingham Vocational Technical Institute

    Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant

    Certified Dental Assistant

    Registered Dental Assistant, State of Washington

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    Contact Info


    360 752-8315
    kmcguinn@btc.edu
    C Building (C) - Room C1-F

     

    Office Hours


    Usual office hours are:

      Monday - Friday from 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm

     


    Julie Williams - Instructor image

    Julie Williams

    Area of Instruction


    Dental Assisting

    Degrees and Certifications


    BA, Leadership, Trinity Western University

    AAST, DTA, Whatcom Community College

    Certificate, Dental Assisting, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Expanded Function Dental Auxiliary, Bellingham Technical College

    Contact Info


    360-752-8408
    JWilliams@btc.edu
    B Building (B) - Room B8-A