Programs And Courses

Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant

Below is information on the Dental Assistant Credit Certificate Program (320P) —Harrisburg Campus.


What is a dental assistant? 

A dental assistant performs various duties. You must: 

  • Have the most comprehensive duties in the dental office.
  • Perform a wide range of tasks. Tasks require both interpersonal and technical skills.·
  • Be the dentist's "right arm." You will take on significant responsibility and improve efficiency.
  • Perform radiographic techniques.
  • Assist a dental practitioner in all office procedures. These include taking an impression and making a model of the patient's teeth for study casts.
  • Perform routine office management operations.
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Be exposed to blood-borne pathogens, potentially hazardous materials and ionizing radiation.


How much do dental assistants make?

The median salary for dental assistants in PA is $32,500 as of 2012 (BLS). Visit www.salary.com for more information on local salaries.


What is the employment outlook?

Ongoing research links oral health to general health. This research will continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services. Dental practices will grow, and they will need more dental assistants.


How do I enroll in the program?

This is a selective program. Admission to HACC does not guarantee admission to the clinical component of the program. The Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (CODA) accredits the program.

Download the Admission Criteria, Point System and Essential Qualifications (pdf, rev 7/3/14). (Includes shadowing form)

The clinical application is available online using Survey Monkey during Spring semester. Application deadline is April 15.
As a pre dental assisting student, you are required to meet with Dawn Clifford, the Program Director. Call (717) 221-1731 or email dacliffo@hacc.edu to schedule your appointment.


Where does HACC hold classes?

The complete program is available only at the Harrisburg Campus. HACC offers other required courses at other campuses and sites.


What are the required courses?

Download the Required Courses listing. It includes a sample schedule (pdf, rev 2/14).


What are the additional expenses of the program?

Download Estimated Expenses (pdf, rev 5/14) for a list of expenses. These expenses are in addition to tuition.


Program effectiveness data

  • Five-year program completion rate —82%
  • Program performance on national board exams (two-year data for 2012, 2013):
    • Radiation Health Safety —97.5%
    • Infection Control —78%
    • General Chairside Assisting —97.5%



What degree will I earn? Will I be eligible for credentials? 

You will earn a certificate after you successfully complete the program.

  • You will be eligible to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination.
  • Many other states require dental assistants to be DANB-certified (CDA) or state-registered.
  • Many states require state registration and will accept DANB results.


Where can I advance my education?

You will be eligible to continue for another six credits in Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA).

You may earn 30 credits towards an Associate Degree in Health Science if:

  • You complete this certificate program
  • Earn national certification
  • Are employed in the dental assisting field


Where can I get more information?


Who can I contact for more information?

Health Careers


717-780-1988 or 800-222-4222, ext. 211988 


Dental Assisting Program Office: 

Select Medical Health Education Pavilion (SMHEP), Room 104 

HACC Harrisburg Campus 

1 HACC Drive 

Harrisburg, PA 17110