Dental Assistant Certificate (DAC)

Abbotsford (604) 625-1150 / Send Inquiry

The Dental Assistant Certificate Program prepares students for a career as a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). Students will develop the technical, professional and interpersonal skills needed to succeed as dental assistants.

Upon completion of the Dental Assistant Certificate, graduates are eligible to become candidates for the National Dental Assisting Board examination. The exam is a mandatory component for certification and registration with the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, the regulatory body for Certified Dental Assistants.

Dental Assistant Training Laboratory at Abbotsford Campus

Study in a state-of-the-art facility with practical application.

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Overview Admission Requirements Program Formats and Duration Upcoming Dates Course Descriptions Fees

The Dental Assistant Certificate is delivered through a combination of in-class education (the study of theory), lab-based learning (the study of practice), and real-world application (practicum placements). This blend serves to prepare students to move smoothly from understanding ideas, methods, and procedures to being able to use them effectively in working clinical environments.

The program extends over a forty-week (ten months) period, with twenty hours per week of interactive lecture time, plus clinical practice. This is followed by the practicum placement in the form of dental assisting practice.

CDA Certification

To become certified as a CDA in BC, graduates of both accredited and non-accredited programs are required to successfully complete the National Dental Assisting Examining Board’s (NDAEB) written exam. Students who complete Ashton College’s program must also successfully complete the NDAEB’s Clinical Practice Evaluation (CPE).

This program is intended to impart the knowledge and skills necessary to serve as an effective CDA and to prepare the graduates for both the practice evaluation and the written exam.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. A minimum of a high school diploma, 19 years or older at the start of the applicant’s program or course; and
  2. English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Applicants should also provide the following additional documents:

  1. Criminal record check (CRC);
  2. Standard First Aid Certificate (the CPR C portion of this certificate must not expire before the completion of the program);
  3. Evidence of the following immunizations:
    1. Chickenpox;
    2. Measles/Mumps/Rubella [MMR];
    3. Tetanus;
    4. Polio;
    5. Hepatitis B or Hepatitis A/B Combination;
    6. Proof of negative tuberculosis (TB) test;
    7. Flu vaccination;
  4. Note from a dentist indicating good oral health, which must include at least the following:
    1. Date;
    2. Name of the applicant;
    3. Name and address of the dentist;
    4. Date of the last dental visit and procedures performed;
    5. A definitive statement of whether the applicant is in good dental health (if the answer is no, the dentist must outline the plan for proposed dental work).

For more details, please see our Admissions Policy.


This program is delivered in-class from our Abbotsford campus.


800 hours of classroom instruction (including two practicums with a total of 150 hours of dental practice assistance).


  • September 23, 2019 – June 26, 2020
    • Classes are held Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

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Basic Dental Assisting

This course will focus on the skills required to perform basic dental assisting procedures. Students will also work on developing a familiarity with the clinical environment and general practices, particularly related to infection control, patient records, dental radiography and anatomy. Students will become familiar with the properties and manipulation of dental materials, equipment and maintenance of the dental operatory, identification and sterilization of instruments and the routines of common dental procedures. Client care and workplace safety considerations will be analyzed.

Applied Dental Sciences 1

This course discusses the oral anatomic landmarks and establishes an understanding of the relationship between structure and function. Students will learn detailed anatomy of the teeth and the relationships between the structures in and around the mouth, including the skull, muscles of mastication, blood vessels, nerves, salivary glands and oral soft tissues.

Applied Dental Sciences 2

This course introduces students to oral pathology, basic concepts of pharmacology, and nutrition within the scope of dental assisting practice and client care.

Infection Prevention and Control

This course presents the principles of disease transmission and knowledge of bacteria and the microbial characteristics of infection control. This course includes an orientation to the identification, function and maintenance of equipment found in dental offices. Students will demonstrate effective infection-control techniques to prevent transmission in the dental setting. This course includes visits to dental clinics to provide students with high-quality learning activities in relevant situations.

Dental Restorative

This fundamental course focuses on the theory, principles and practical application of restorative dentistry. Students will learn about the dental and operative materials and the restorative instruments they use on a regular basis when they assist dentists. They will learn isolation techniques (including cotton roll and rubber dam) and both fixed and removable restorative procedures. In order to meet the practical objectives of this course, students will also be required to carry out assignments in the dental clinic setting under the direct supervision of a licensed instructor.

Dental Radiography

This course introduces the knowledge and theoretical considerations of dental radiographic procedures. The clinical application of material will be presented and practised to achieve competence in radiographic techniques.

Dental Specialties

This course introduces students to the procedures, materials, and instrumentation used for several dental specialties. Topics include endodontics, which concerns saving the diseased tooth; orthodontics, the prevention and correction of malocclusion; periodontal practice; oral and maxillofacial surgery along with hospital dentistry; pediatric dentistry; and geriatric dentistry.

Practical Dental Skills

This course provides students with the information and practical knowledge related to the business procedures of a dental practice. Students will learn how to complete third party insurance predeterminations and claim forms, establish and use an expense and disbursement account system, and review the computerized dental office management system. Students will also study how to effectively communicate with clients and other team members and develop excellent customer service skills. This course includes a review of employment skills and interview techniques.

Patient Care

In this course, the learner has opportunities to provide preventive dental services to patients. This course includes pulp vitality testing, alginate impressions, acid etching a cavity preparation, matrix and wedge placement and removal, and the removal of retraction cord. The placement of treatment liners and varnish in teeth without pulpal involvement is also covered. Coronal polishing is focused on as part of complete patient care. Preventive procedures cover pit and fissure sealants and desensitizing agents, and post-surgical procedures cover suture removal and the removal of periodontal pack. The learner demonstrates competency in the intra-oral skills legislated under the Health Professions Act for Certified Dental Assistants in British Columbia.

Dental Assisting Practice 1

In this course, the learner practises chairside dental skills under the supervision of licensed dental professionals in a general dental office.

Dental Assisting Practice 2

In this course, the learner practises all intra-oral dental skills within the scope of practice under the supervision of licensed dental professionals in a general dental office. Students are not required to complete this practicum at the same work site as they completed Dental Assisting Practice 1.

NDAEB Exam Preparation

In this course, students are taught test-taking techniques specifically geared to promote success on the written and practical National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) examinations.

Tuition fees for this program are due and payable at least 30 days prior to the cohort start date. Students with guaranteed funding arrangements will be exempt from this requirement provided that they produce documentary proof at least 30 days prior to the cohort start date.

All formats of the program are eligible for Canada Student Loans, other forms of government funding, and bank financing. However, students are responsible for making their own funding arrangements and are advised to contact the relevant funder well in advance of the start date to make an application.

Application and tuition fees for this program are as follows:

  • Application fee: $200 (Domestic Students) or $300 (International Students)
  • Tuition fee (Domestic): $14,000
  • Tuition fee (International): $19,600

Note: Tuition fees do not include the cost of the required textbooks.