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Dental Assisting Certificate

Certificate Programs

Germanna Community College offers a Certificate in Dental Assisting. The program consists of a combination of traditional and clinical learning modalities. The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to serve in a dynamic and growing health profession as valuable members of the Dental Health team. The program is also designed to accommodate those students who wish to advance to the Dental Assisting II registration and/or matriculate to a dental hygiene Associate Degree.

Graduates of this Dental Assisting Program will receive a Certificate of Dental Assisting. After successful completion of the program and national dental assisting board examinations, the student will be eligible for entry into the profession or a Dental Assisting II program. The goals of the Program are:

The goals of the Dental Assisting Program are:

  1. To attract and graduate competent and ethical professionals with the skills and knowledge to practice as chairside dental assistants.
  2. To prepare students to pass the Dental Assisting National Board Exam.
  3. To prepare students to obtain employment as dental assistants.
  4. To prepare students to recognize the need for a commitment toward professional growth through life-long learning and participation in professional activities.

Purpose: The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to serve in a dynamic and growing health profession as valuable members of the Dental Health team. At the successful completion of the program, the student will be eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination.

Transfer Information: Although transfer is not the primary purpose of a certificate program, GCC credits may transfer to other associate degree programs and/or senior institutions. Students interested in transfer should contact a counselor or their faculty advisor early in their program.

Special Accreditation Status: Germanna Community College maintains the status of accreditation without reporting requirements by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Post- Secondary Accreditation and by the U.S. Department of Education.

Essential Dental Assisting Functions: To successfully complete the component of the Program, the student must be able to perform all of the essential functions of a dental assistant:

  1. Possess front desk and chairside clinical skills including the abilities to see and hear adequately to note slight changes in the client’s conditions and to hear adequately to perceive and interpret various equipment signals.
  2. Possess a good attitude and dedication toward other members of the health care team and patients.
  3. Be a team player, take initiative and be responsible.
  4. Maintain patient confidentiality and communicate satisfactorily with clients, physicians, peers, family members, and the health care team
  5. Demonstrate sensitivity to patient needs.
  6. Show empathy.
  7. Demonstrate adequate eye/hand coordination for dexterity in manipulation of hand instruments and other equipment used in clinical practice.
  8. Manage the care of a client in a sudden emergency, including one-man CPR when necessary.
  9. Possess the visual acuity to correctly read handwritten orders, medication records, chart contents, and provide safety for clients.

Despite the foregoing, a qualified person with a disability who can perform these essential functions with reasonable accommodation will be considered for admission along with other qualified applicants.

Occupational Objectives: This program is designed to provide essential technological and practical knowledge required for a dental assistant I to perform efficiently in a dental office. Training experiences in nearby dental clinics and private dental offices are provided.

General Admission Requirements: Applicant selection into the Dental Assisting Program is selective and competitive. Twelve students are admitted annually at the Germanna site. For more information on the application process, students should visit the department website at http://www.germanna.edu/ dental/dental-assisting/ or call the department office at (540) 423- 9823 or (540) 423-9833.

  • Be admitted to Germanna Community College.
  • Students must have a high school diploma or GED.
  • MTE 1-2 within five years.
  • A 2.0 average in academic work is necessary for consideration.
  • Applicants must attend a dental assisting program informational meeting with a dental faculty advisor.
  • Applications, including official transcripts of all secondary and postsecondary courses, must be received by the Admissions and Records Office.
  • Requirements for admission into the dental assisting program are specific and admission is selective and competitive. If there are more qualified applicants than space available for offer of admission, the applicants with the highest HOBET test score, GPA, and number of credits completed toward the Certificate in Dental Assisting will receive priority consideration for offer of admission. Answers to short essay questions and 2 letters of recommendation will also be considered.
  • If the number of applicants exceeds the enrollment space available in the program, some applicants may not be accepted even if the minimum requirements for admission are met.
  • Applicants will be expected to have earned a “C” or better in all general education courses in the Certificate program.
  • Applications for the Certificate in Dental Assisting program are due between September 1 and October 1 each year.
  • Information sessions for application to the program are held each year.

Additional Admission Requirements/Recommendations:

  1. It is recommended that students pass NAS 150, Human Biology, 3 credits, with a grade of C or better prior to being admitted to the program, ENG 111, College Composition, and SDV 101, Orientation to Health Care with a “C” or better.
  2. Students may be required to repeat courses or to complete evaluative testing for credits earned more than ten years ago.
  3. Since the dental assistant program has many applicants and the number of admissions is contingent upon available faculty and classroom and clinical spaces, the expected time it will take a student to earn the degree may exceed 11 months. Applicants are advised to complete the general education courses, especially NAS 150 Human Biology or NAS 161Natural Science I, prior to entering the first dental assisting major course.

Special Program Requirements: The Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Dentistry reserves the right to deny licensure to any candidate who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or the use of drugs or alcohol to the extent that such use renders him/her unsafe to practice dental assisting. Any applicant who has been found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony must consult with the Dental Assisting Program Director prior to admission.

Responsibilities of Dental Assisting Students:

The following are responsibilities of students in the Dental Assisting Program:

  1. To prepare students for the high ethical standards of the health professions, the College expects absolute academic integrity both in the classroom and in clinical practice. Therefore, cheating, attempting to cheat, plagiarizing, lying, stealing academic work which includes secured tests or related materials, submitting papers purchased or written by others, or failing to report an occurrence of academic dishonesty or any violation of this honor code may subject the student to the College’s disciplinary procedures as defined in the GCC Student Handbook.
  2. Students in dental assisting program incur a variety of expenses in addition to college tuition and fees. These include, but are not limited to, the cost of uniforms, accessories, and travel to clinical assignments. Students are also responsible for testing fees.
  3. A strict dress code is required in the clinical setting. Students may be dismissed if they fail to comply with this dress code.
  4. The College reserves the right to require students to obtain and maintain at their own expense liability/malpractice insurance with a carrier authorized to transact such business in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Whether or not insurance appropriate to the program is required, students are encouraged to carry such insurance on their own.
  5. Students are required to complete learning experiences at local clinics, private offices, and/or other community-based agencies. Students may be required to attend both day and/or evening clinical assignments.
  6. Students must provide their own transportation to clinical assignments. Strict attendance is required at clinical sites.
  7. Students may utilize the resources of the assigned clinical affiliate for emergency medical treatment for injuries or illness that may occur during the time period when students are assigned to the health care facility. The student is responsible for any expenses incurred for this treatment.
  8. Students must comply with all clinical contract protocols including immunization requirements, drug screening and background checks.
  9. Students must keep their CPR certifications current.
  10. While enrolled in clinical courses, students may not replace or take the responsibility of “qualified” staff in affiliated facilities. However, after demonstrating proficiency, students may be permitted to perform specified procedures under careful supervision. Students may be employed in clinical facilities outside regular education hours provided that such work does not interfere with academic responsibilities. The work must be non-compulsory and subject to employee regulations. Any exception must have the approval of the Dean of Nursing and Health Technologies.
  11. Students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior consistent with standards associated with health care practitioners.

Continuation Requirements for Dental Assisting Students

The following continuation requirements govern students in the Dental Assisting Program:

  1. Each course in the program major must be completed with a grade of “C” or better before taking the next course in the sequence and to satisfy graduation requirements, unless waived by the Division Dean upon the recommendation of the Program Director.
  2. All courses in the major must be taken in the sequence prescribed in the GCC Catalog, unless otherwise approved by the Program Director.
  3. To pass a course students must successfully complete both the didactic (classroom) and the clinical/lab requirements.
  4. Program faculty and clinical affiliates reserve the right to recommend, through appropriate channels, withdrawal of any student who exhibits unsafe performance or non-adherence to prescribed clinical affiliate policies and procedures.
  5. Satisfactory physical and mental health must be maintained for continuance in the program. Applicants must be free of any physical and/or mental condition that might adversely affect their acceptance or performances in the program. The College reserves the right to require medical examinations to verify continuing compliance. Students with pre-existing physical and/or mental conditions which might adversely affect performance in the program who do not self-disclose this information are subject to dismissal from the program.
  6. Students with criminal convictions who do not self-disclose this information are subject to dismissal from the program.

Program Re-Enrollment Requirements for Dental Assisting Students

Any student who has voluntarily withdrawn or who has been withdrawn due to unsatisfactory academic or clinical performance may apply for re-admission the following academic year. Acceptance will be based upon space availability, successful fulfillment of any contingencies agreed to in writing at the time of withdrawal, and Program Director approval. An interview and medical examination may be required.

Suggested Scheduling

Prior to entering the first Dental Assisting major course:

Course Credits
ENG 111 3
NAS 150 3
PSY 200 3
SDV 101 1
Total Credits 10


Course Credits
DNA 103 1
DNA 108 3
DNA 110 3
DNA 113 3
DNA 134 3
Total Credits 13


Course Credits
DNA 114 4
DNA 190 3
Total Credits 7


Course Credits
DNA 119 1
DNA 120 1
DNA 130 2
DNA 140 5
Total Credits 9
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