Certificate in Dental Assisting

Become a certified dental assistant

The Indiana University School of Dentistry offers two ways to earn a certificate in dental assisting: a traditional on-campus program and a distance learning program. Both programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Dental assisting students are required to take three Dental Assisting National Board exams to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

Find out what it’s like to be a student here

About the programs

Campus Dental Assisting Program

The Campus Dental Assisting Program is a full-time, two-semester program that requires the completion of 30 credit hours. The curriculum consists of 14 required classes that include approximately 1,000 hours of lectures, labs, and clinical experiences. All instruction takes place at the School of Dentistry, located on the IUPUI campus in downtown Indianapolis.  Students are required to complete at least 300 clinical hours in order to earn the certificate


Distance Learning Dental Assisting Program

The School of Dentistry’s Distance Learning Dental Assisting Program is the first online dental assisting program in Indiana. Like the on-campus program, the distance learning program is a full-time, two-semester program and requires the completion of 30 credit hours.

As a student in the program, you will take your nonclinical classes online and come to the School of Dentistry one or two Saturdays a month for your exams, labs, and preclinical activities. Your clinical experiences will take place in your hometown in a sponsoring dentist’s general or pediatric practice. You are required to complete more than 300 clinical hours in order to earn the certificate.


Certificate requirements

Both the on-campus program and the distance learning program follow the same curriculum. You must take 14 required courses and earn 30 credit hours for the dental assisting certificate. Upon sucessful completion of the courses, dental assisting graduates are eligible for the Indiana Dental Radiographer's License.  In addition, Coronal Polishing and Caries Prevention certificates are earned by graduates who successfully complete the dental assisting curriculum.

View a list of courses


Expanded Restorative Dentistry elective

Qualified students can take the elective course Expanded Restorative Dentistry, a 3 credit hour course offered during the spring semester. Upon successful completion of the course, graduates will receive an Expanded Restorative Procedures for Dental Auxilaries certificate.

Admission requirements

To be eligible to apply to either of the dental assisting programs, you must meet certain admission requirements, which include:

  • Admission to IUPUI as an undergraduate student
  • Cumulative, English, and science GPAs of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Completion of at least two English and two science courses
  • Demonstrated English proficiency

You also must meet certain minimum skill standards.

Learn more about admission requirements

How to apply

After admittion to IUPUI, you will submit a separate application for your selected dental assisting program.

Learn how to apply


Tuition and fee costs vary depending on residency (in state or out of state) and number of credit hours taken each semester. You can use IUPUI’s tuition and fee estimator as a starting point for figuring out what your costs will be.

However, keep in mind that there are additional program and clinical fees for dental assisting students that may not be included in the estimate. You can search IUPUI’s master fee list to find out what fees you’ll have to pay as a dental assisting student.

Financial aid

IUPUI dental assisting students are eligible to receive financial aid. However, upon your admission to IUPUI, you will be classified as a pre–dental assisting student until you are accepted into one of the dental assisting programs. Pre–dental assisting students do not qualify for financial aid, so you will be not be awarded any aid until you have been admitted to one of the programs.

Learn more about financial aid