Take on an important role in the healthcare field by becoming a dental assistant. You’ll work closely with patients as you guide them toward good oral health practices. In addition to assisting the dentist as he or she examines and treats patients, you may also have opportunities to work in a dental lab, take x-rays, schedule appointments, and/or manage the office. Our technical diploma curriculum prepares you to enter a private practice for a dentist or group of dentists, or to work with national, state, or local agencies that provide dental services. Chairside skills, dental anatomy, dental radiography, oral hygiene, OSHA standards, and communication skills are all included in the program.
Graduates may become certified by completing an examination by the Dental Assisting National Board.
Program-specific courses are held in the Health Science Center, a shared facility located a few blocks from the La Crosse main campus. Check our maps page for specific location information.
Estimated Program Cost
This program will cost about $5,800* based on tuition and basic program fees. There may be additional fees for books, materials, and testing. For more information on tuition costs, visit the Tuition Page.
* Tuition and fees are subject to change.
Dental Assistant 2020-2021 Graduation Employment Stats
|Employed in Related Occupation||6|
|Employed in Non-related Occupations||0|
|Not in Labor Market||0|
Salary Data - Related Employment
|Part Time||Full Time|
|Average Hours Per Week||37|
|Median Hourly Wage||$17.50|
|Hourly Wage Range||$16.50-$19.00|
|Median Annual Salary||$35,565|
Respondents in Related Occupations
- Dental Assistant, Lead Dental Assistant
- Living responsibly
- Refining professionalism
- Cultivating passion
- Perform a variety of advanced supportive dental procedures
- Manage infection and hazard control
- Produce diagnostic intraoral and extraoral radiographs on a variety of patients
- Perform advanced dental laboratory procedures
- Demonstrate professional behaviors, ethics, and appearance
- Perform dental office business procedures
To enroll in the Dental Assistant program, first apply for admission to the College, then read the program's Essential Functions and complete a background check. You can find links to these documents below. In addition, you must complete a Job Shadow at a dental office. The last step for admission to the program will be to complete an Intent to Enroll form. Please see the details below.
- Dental Assistant Essential Functions
- Background Check
- Dental Assistant Job Shadow form
- Contact the Welcome Center to make an appointment to complete your Intent to Enroll Form. Prospective or returning students should meet with an Admissions Coach. Current students should meet with a Health and Public Safety College Advisor.
COVID-19 Vaccination Status
COVID-19 vaccination is not required to attend classes at Western Technical College, however some clinical sites who contract with Western for student rotations now have COVID-19 vaccination requirements. To prevent any potential interruption in your clinical/practicum/field classes, we are now requiring you to provide us with your COVID-19 vaccination status in order to plan for clinical rotations.
Software and Technology
Most of Western’s classes require the use of a personal computer or laptop, standard software, internet access, and other technology-related items.
If you do not have a personal computer or laptop, or if the one you have does not meet the following criteria, resources may be available. Submit a Student Resource Request using our online form.
- Smartphones are not recommended for completing assignments.
- Chromebooks are not recommended due to issues with installing software that is needed for classes, such as Office 365.
- Web camera with microphone (usually built into newer laptops or can be purchased separately) is necessary for online participation.
- Western uses the Blackboard Learning Management System. Some courses may use Zoom or Microsoft Teams to meet and work virtually. Visit our website for guidance on how to access and use these tools.
- Office 365 (available to download for free once you have a student email)
- Recommended web browsers: Chrome or Firefox
For detailed specifications, please review Technology and Software Recommendations for Most Classes on Western’s IT Knowledgebase.
- Western has several computer labs available. Visit our website to find open hours and locations on the La Crosse campus. Or find information on how to access resources on our Regional Locations web page.
- The Learning Commons has computers, webcams, and microphones available for in-house use. Our librarians recommend checking your local public library for computer access on the weekends. Staff members can also provide information on free, off-campus Wi-Fi spots. Contact them at LearningCommons@westerntc.edu or call 608-785-9198.
- Contact the Learning Commons! The staff are happy to answer questions, provide individualized assistance, and direct you to other supports as needed.
The program in Dental Assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at 312-440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. The Commission’s web address is: http://www.ada.org/en/coda.
For more information, view the Dental Assistant Program Handbook.
Program Chair, Dental Assistant