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Hagerstown Community College / HCC

Academic Catalog

2023-2024 Catalog 
    Feb 26, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog

Dental Assisting, Certificate

The Dental Assisting program is designated as a Health Manpower Shortage Program; therefore, some residents of Maryland enrolled in this program of study on the first day of the term may be eligible for in-county tuition rates for courses required for program completion.

Purpose: The purpose of the Dental Assisting Program is to provide a program of study for students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to become an integral and qualified member of the dental team. This program, accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, also prepares students to sit for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam or the Maryland General Dental Assisting Expanded Functions (MDG) and Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exams, and Infection Control, all administered by Dental Assistant National Board (DANB).

View the Dental Assisting, Certificate Fee Sheet. 

Curriculum: The curriculum is divided into several areas of study and consists of lecture, laboratory and clinical experience. Emphasis is placed on the knowledge and skills of the dental assistant to meet the needs of other members of the dental team and the needs of dental patients.

Program Outcomes: 

  1. Provide a comprehensive curriculum that prepares Certified Dental Assistants to meet the needs of the Dental employers with our community.
  2. Furnish the community with a dental assistant who has developed entry level competency to assist the general and specialized dentist, and provide the knowledge of dental theory adequate for understanding the significance and implications of those procedures performed.
  3. Provide the student with knowledge, understanding, and working skills in dental laboratory procedures and business office administrative duties.
  4. Graduate students with the ability to demonstrate professional and ethical conduct as members of the dental team and to motivate the student to pursue lifelong professional growth and development through participation in professional organizations and continuing education.
  5. Graduate students competent to pass the Dental Assisting National Board Examinations in General Chairside, Infection Control, and Radiation Health and Safety, and expanded function.

Program Student Learning Outcomes: Graduates of the Dental Assisting Certificate Program will be able to:

  1. Perform entry-level skill and competence in assigned chairside dental assistant duties and responsibilities (including allowable functions as defined by the Maryland State Board of Dentistry). 
  2. Demonstrate appropriate cultural, legal, ethical, and professional respect during patient care, including adherence to HIPAA standards.
  3. Perform radiographic techniques in a variety of dental environments.
  4. Apply OSHA Infection Control and Hazard Communication standards during all aspects of dental care and practice.
  5. Utilize computer technology associated with the profession of dentistry including but not limited to digital radiography, intraoral cameras, and dental-specific software for the operation of a dental practice. 
  6. Exhibit legal and ethical behavior which adheres to professional conduct standards for dentistry.
  7. Articulate dental language appropriate in business, clinical, and education situations.
  8. Delineate and describe the various dental practice specialties and explain a dental assistant’s scope of practice in each specialty.
  9. Recognize the importance of continued professional development to demonstrate professional competence and growth.

Admission Requirements: 

  • A High School Diploma or GED
  • As a cohort program, students will be admitted to the dental assisting program each summer on a first-come basis. The dental assisting program is limited to 24 students. This limit is based upon available lab space and externship sites.  
  • An orientation session will be held prior to the beginning of the first semester of the dental assisting program.  Attendance is mandatory.
  • Students must have completed RDG 095  or be eligible for college level English and must have completed MAT 090 MAT 095 , or be eligible for college level Math.

Program Requirements: All dental assisting students must:

  1. Maintain a minimum grade of “C” or better in all program requirement area courses. The Health Sciences Division “C” represents a grade of at least a 75%.
  2. Meet program competency requirements for both the dental laboratory and externship experiences
  3. Students who receive a final mark of unsatisfactory in the dental laboratory or externship experiences, despite a passing theory grade, will not be permitted to progress in the dental assisting program and will receive a final grade of “F” for the course.
  4. Students who do not meet program or course standards that result from termination from the dental assisting program by the College are not eligible for readmission to the program. This includes students who cannot meet safety standards and students who violate the college’s Honor Code and Standards of Conduct, the dental assisting program’s Standards of Conduct and the American Dental Association’s Principle of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct.
  5. Over the course of the Dental Assisting program, students may be required to participate in enrichment dental­-related activities, which are determined by the Program Coordinator.

Fact Sheet

First Year Fall   First Year Spring
Course Number Course Name Credits   Course Number Course Name Credits
BIO 116 Human Anatomy and Physiology for Allied Health 4   COM 103
COM 108
Public Speaking 
Introduction to Human Communication
DEN 101 Dental Assisting I 4   DEN 110 Dental Assisting II 5
DEN 104 Dental Radiology 3   DEN 115 Dental Office Management 2
DEN 107 Dental Materials 3   DEN 120 Dental Specialties 3
DEN 108 Head, Neck, and Oral Anatomy 4   DEN 130 Dental Assisting Externship I 3
TOTAL   18   TOTAL   16


 First Year Summer
Course Number Course Name Credits
DEN 230 Dental Assisting Externship II 4

Program Requirements (38 Credits)

*A minimum grade of “C” or better is required for all program requirement area courses. The Health Sciences Division “C” represents a grade of at least a 75%.

Certificate Requirement (38 Credits)

Additional Program Requirements


Pathway I - Student who has no dental background; completes all Dental Assisting required courses; receives certificate at completion of program; can take the Maryland General Dental Assisting Expanded Functions (MDG) exam and the DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam through Dental Assistant National Board, Inc. (DANB).

Pathway II - Student who is currently working in a dental office and wants to be certified as a Qualified Dental Assistant (expanded functions in Maryland); student must prove that they hold a current CPR Healthcare Provider certification, OSHA training on bloodborne pathogens and infection control, and at least one year full­-time or two years part-­time dental assisting experience in a dental office (letter from current employer); completes Dental Assisting II course only; can take the Maryland General Dental Assisting Expanded Functions (MDG) exam through Dental Assistant National Board, Inc. (DANB). Student may be accepted if there is an open seat in the DEN 110  course.

Pathway III - Student who is currently working in a dental office and wants to become certified as a Dental Radiation Technologist; student must prove that they hold current CPR Healthcare Provider certification, OSHA training on bloodborne pathogens and infection control, and at least one year of employment at a dental office (letter from current employer) ; completes Dental Radiology course only; can take the DANB Radiation and Health and Safety (RHS) exam through Dental Assistant National Board, Inc. (DANB). Student may be accepted if there is an open seat in the DEN 104  course.

Final Acceptance

Final acceptance into the program is contingent upon the following criteria. Students unable to meet these criteria will be withdrawn from the program.

  1. Students are required to attend a mandatory orientation session
  2. Successful completion of program requirements at the time of registration
  3. Students must be able to meet the program’s technical standards
  4. Satisfactory completion of a health examination record and all required tests and immunizations, along with a urine drug screen and criminal background checks. Prior criminal records may prohibit students from program externship and employment opportunities.
  5. Prior to the Dental Radiology course ( ), students must have a current American Heart Association BLS Provider certification for Healthcare Providers.

Criminal Background Checks

All students who enrolled in the Dental Assistant program will be required to submit to fingerprinting and a complete a criminal background check. Based on the results of the criminal background check and consultation with dental licensing agencies, student may be ineligible for enrollment in the program. A valid government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID, or green card) and a social security number is required for a background check. Prior criminal records may prohibit students from clinical program placement, becoming licensed, or employment opportunities.  Students with a misdemeanor and/or felony should contact the local state licensing board prior to submitting an application. Students will be permitted to take their boards without a social security number, however they must have a valid social security number for licensure. 

Vaccine Requirements

Several immunizations are required as part of your health documentation, including:  HEP B 3 vaccine series AND Positive immunity titer, Tetanus (Tdap) within last 10 years, Varicella 2 vaccine series AND positive immunity titer, MMR 2 vaccine series AND positive immunity titer,  the Flu vaccine (fall and spring), and the COVID-19 vaccine. Since many individuals fail to maintain immunity over time, you may be required to repeat vaccination series/ receive a booster in order to demonstrate positive immunity. Positive immunity titers are required to proceed with Clinical or Externship rotations in all Health Sciences Programs. It is the student’s responsibility to verify immunity prior to the start of the program and take the necessary steps to ensure positive immunity by the health documentation deadline provided to each cohort.

Externship Site Placement

Students enrolled in the dental assisting program will be assigned to dental practices within 60 miles of the tristate region. Student placement in dental sites is determined at a designated semester. Students are expected to provide their own transportation to dental sites and abide by the policies and protocols of each facility. Misconduct in the assigned externship site may result in loss of externship placement and/or recommendation for program dismissal.

Ionizing Radiation and Pregnancy

Reporting of pregnancy to program coordinator is voluntary on the part of the student. Regulatory Guide 8.13, Instruction Concerning Prenatal Radiation Exposure ( published by the United States Regulatory Commission provide information and guidelines.

Technical Standards

There are technical standards and skill requirements which students are expected to possess and demonstrate in order to be successful in this program. More information on these standards can be found on the Web page for this program.