Dental Assistant Diploma

Academic Programs

Career Path


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Program Options

Degree, Certificate or Diploma


Council Bluffs Campus

Program Information

Are you the type of person that likes fast-paced, hands-on experience with the opportunity to help the public? The Dental Assisting Program at Iowa Western is just what you’re looking for! Your hands-on experience begins as soon as the first week of class when you’ll be working with other students in the dental clinic at Iowa Western.   

Iowa Western’s small class size combined with a tight-knit dental community allows for one-on-one interaction with the faculty as the students work their way through the program. Before the student graduates, they will gain hands-on experience as a chairside assistant in area dental schools and private dental offices. Graduates have the opportunity to work in private dental practices, specialty dental practices, dental colleges, dental product sales, insurance claims departments, and public health institutions and clinics, and dental laboratories. 

The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and the United States Department of Education. This accreditation ensures that the Dental Assisting program is up to date on the latest curriculum and techniques in the dental industry. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago 60611, or visit the website at

To learn more about the program or see what we’ve been up to, visit our program Facebook page.

Job Outlook

1,122 Jobs (2020)

+8.6% Change from 2020-2025

Data is from the Omaha Metropolitans Area, and the seven counties in Southwest Iowa that Iowa Western serves

What will you do

The Dental Assistant program is designed to place students into the workforce upon completion of the ten-month diploma. Dental Assistants aid dentists by performing support duties for the treatment of patients during dental procedures. Duties range from assisting the dentist with procedures to educating patients to preparing and sterilizing dental instruments and performing administrative work. Most dental assistants work in private dental offices, although job opportunities for dental assistants also exist in dental schools, private and government hospitals, state and local public health departments, and corporate clinics. The employment opportunities for dental assistants are ever increasing with the need for dental care.


  • Entry: $15.81
  • Average: $18.60
  • Experienced: $26.47

Career Examples

Work as a dental assistant in:

  • General dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Prosthodontics
  • Pediatrics
  • Endodontics

Program Prerequisites

General Education Courses that must be completed prior to first semester of Dental Assistant Diploma: 

ENG 105 - Composition I OR 3.0 Credit(s)
ENG 110 - Writing For The Workplace 3.0 Credit(s)
HSC 128 - Anatomy and Physiology for Allied Health Programs 3.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 6.0 Credits

First Semester

DEA 312 - Dental Radiography I 3.0 Credit(s)
DEA 403 - Dental Materials 3.0 Credit(s)
DEA 502 - Dental Assisting Principles 4.0 Credit(s)
DEA 253 - Dental Science I 4.0 Credit(s)

Semester Total: 14.0 Credits

Second Semester

DEA 321 - Dental Radiography II 2.0 Credit(s)
DEA 602 - Dental Specialties 4.5 Credit(s)
DEA 706 - Procedures for the Dental Office 2.5 Credit(s)
DEA 263 - Dental Science II 2.0 Credit(s)
DEA 582 - Dental Assisting Experience I 2.0 Credit(s)
  • Psychology Elective 3.0 Credit(s)
  • Semester Total: 16.0 Credits


    DEA 585 - Dental Assisting Experience II 5.0 Credit(s)
    DEA 933 - Internship Seminar 1.0 Credit(s)

    Semester Total: 6.0 Credits

    Total Semester Hours Required: 42.0


    Courses with DEA prefix must be taken in the sequence listed above.

    Students must earn a “C” or higher in all Dental Assisting courses in order to graduate.


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    Program Outcomes

    Upon the successful completion of the program students will:

    • Demonstrate the ability to perform select office and dental procedures.
    • Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior.
    • Demonstrate the ability to accurately capture diagnostic radiographic images.
    • Demonstrate communication of dental based principles to patients for practical use.

    Program Disclaimers

    • Salary information from EMSI Analyst Database