Dental Assisting

Program Level: Degrees, Certificates
Department: Allied Health and Kinesiology
Institute: Health & Biosciences
College: SAC
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What is the Dental Assisting program?

This program gives you the skills and knowledge needed to care for dental patients by assisting with a variety of treatment procedures. The program also prepares you to meet all state and national requirements for a career in dental assisting.

What will I learn?

You’ll learn how to assist dentists by taking and developing dental x-rays; preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment; helping patients feel comfortable before, during and after dental treatment; teaching patients how to maintain oral health with tooth brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling; office management tasks and more.

What can I do with this course of study?

When you graduate from the dental assisting program, you’ll have the certificates you need for a career as a dental assistant. In addition, your training will allow you to care for patients in general dentistry and other dental specialties, including orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics and oral surgery.

What's special about the program?

This accredited program is a 3-semester, full-time day program that begins only in fall semester. The program has a maximum enrollment of 24 students. In addition to a degree program, SAC also offers a certificate program in dental assisting that will prepare you for jobs including dental radiologist, dental office manager and dental insurance rep.

An online guide for nursing and healthcare education ( lists San Antonio College’s dental assisting program as No. 1 in the state of Texas. The dental assisting program is one of only seven programs in Texas accredited by the American Dental Association.


The Dental Assisting Program is a 3 semester, fall-entry only, full-time day program with maximum enrollment (24 students). Online eApplications are open from August 22, 2023 to May 26, 2024.

To be considered for full admission to our program you must complete Phases I, II, and III by the deadline.

Any incoming students who HAVE NOT yet met all required phases by program deadline must re-apply online and be re-advised by the program. Admittance into the program is on a space available basis. It is the student’s responsibility to check eligibility and acceptance status to the dental assisting program. Students not meeting these basic requirements will be referred to the Counselors at the Health and Biosciences Institute.

Phase I

1. Apply & Enroll at San Antonio College

Applicants for the Dental Assisting program MUST be fully enrolled at San Antonio College.

Enroll at SAC

2. Meet the Course Requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements of San Antonio College, students desiring fall admission into the Dental Assisting program must meet the following course requirements:

  • Meet the program’s entry-level competencies, which are completion of MATH 0320 or a TSI score of 350 or higher or college level math (AAS), INRW 0420 or TSI-English: Essay 5 and Reading 351. This can be accomplished by scoring appropriately on the TSI test or taking and passing the courses.
  • A GPA of 2.75 or better. Acceptance to the Dental Assisting program will be on a first come first served basis of those students meeting basic requirements, observation hours, and Complio.

3. Apply to the Dental Assisting program

Complete and submit the Dental Assisting online application before the deadline for consideration.

4. Attend Orientation and meet with a Dental Assisting faculty advisor

Once you have completed the online application an automatic email will be sent to you indicating the dates and time of a mandatory informational session. Please check your email. Your ACES email will be the official mode of communication between you and the Alamo Colleges.

After the informational session each student will be advised individually. Plan your time accordingly; sessions may last all day.  

You must submit written proof of an advisement / degree plan signed by a faculty member of the Dental Assisting program.

Note: You must provide a copy of your unofficial transcript for advisement.

5. Complete Observation Hours

Effective fall 2016, all students interested in the program are required to observe 5 hours in a general dentistry office prior to acceptance into the program (must document hours, attach office business card of where you observed and have it signed by dentist or office manager).

The program, along with our dental assisting advisory board, feel this will help with student perseverance in the program and give the applicant a better sense of the role the dental assistant plays in a dental office.

Hours must be completed by deadline.

Phase II

Submit proof of the following pre-program requirements by the deadline:

  • Take and pass CPR-BLS Provider and submit copy of current CPR card to Complio. CPR is required for State and National Certificates (CPR-Basic Life Support (BLS) Provider).
  • A completed program health assessment policy packet which includes:  A completed updated immunization record including Hepatitis B series (Hep B completed (3) or is in progress, needing only #3 in the series to be completed); PPD/TB screen (within one year); Td booster (if applicable); MMR; DPT. Additionally, Varicella or official documentation by a physician indicating active disease.
  • Proof of completed background check. (Complio)
  • Proof of completed drug screening. (Complio)
  • Students must provide proof of health insurance throughout program. (Complio)
  • Dental prophylaxis with current dental examination with interproximal radiographs (4).
  • A signed order for x-rays (18 fmx/pano) from your dentist indicating that you may have radiographs taken on you.
  • Proof of ADAA Membership (fall and spring requirements)

Note: CPR is required for State and National Certificates. (CPR- BLS Provider). 

The Phase II packet must be returned by the deadline in order to move to Phase III.

Phase III

  • Attend the mandatory orientation in the summer prior to enrollment in classes.
  • Purchase of required textbooks and supplies.
  • Purchase of required scrubs.

Note: It is the student’s responsibility to keep in contact with the dental assisting advisor, check eligibility, acceptance status and register for their classes. Should a student withdraw, fail, or drop, for whatever reason, they must reapply and be re-advised by dental faculty.  

Background Report

A positive criminal background may prevent an applicant from obtaining RDA. The Dental Assisting program has nothing to do with the TSDBE decision.

All applicants with a positive criminal background report must submit an appeal to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners and obtain a written waiver before enrollment in the program. See your advisor for details. 



Commission on Dental Accreditation Posting Form for Third Party Comments

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. The Commission's web address is:

Dental Assisting Student Employment Policy

Although not recommended we understand that it is sometimes necessary for students to work therefore:

  • It is highly recommended that DNTA students work no more than twenty (20) hours per week while enrolled in the dental assisting program.
  • Scholastic standards must be maintained and course requirements must be met during periods of employment.
  • The performance of the student when working for remuneration is the legal responsibility of the employing agency and the individual student.

Dental Offices: A Guide to Compliance with OSHA Standards

Contact Us

Mary Mena, BAAS, MSIS
Interim Chair
Nail Technical Center (NTC) 238A
(210) 486-1136

Carmen Santiago, BAAS, CDA, RDA
Dental Assisting Program Coordinator
Nursing Allied Health Complex (NAHC 134)
(210) 486-1502

Terry Young, MS, DLBT, RDA
Academic Lab Technician Dental Assisting Program
(210) 486-1584

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Dental Assisting