Taking on a career as a dental assistant can be challenging.
In addition to assisting with basic procedures, dental assistants are the face of the practice.
That means they must be reliable and organized while maintaining an elevated level of patience and privacy regarding sensitive patient information.
The primary role of a dental assistant is to support dental hygienists and dentists with various tasks such as assisting through procedures, aftercare, creating molds, taking x-rays, conducting diagnostic tests, obtaining preliminary symptoms, scheduling, and greeting patients.
Given the high visibility of dental assistants at any practice, the role can be difficult, so if you are interested in this type of career, then keep reading to learn more!
- 5 Dental Assistant Schools in Colorado
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the Colorado requirements for a dental assistant to operate x-ray equipment?
- What is considered educational and safety training to operate x-ray equipment in Colorado?
- What are the Colorado education requirements to become a dental assistant?
- What are the Colorado certification requirements?
- What comprises the CDA examination?
5 Dental Assistant Schools in Colorado
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredits the following Colorado dental assistant programs, including:
Colorado School of Dental Assisting – Denver
With one of the shortest programs in the industry at just eight weeks, students can start their new careers quickly by completing the Colorado School of Dental Assisting program.
With the ability to learn completely online or in a hybrid setting, this eight-week course includes a 40-hour externship following the eight weeks.
The program also includes certification and training in dental x-rays as well as CPR certification.
Denver Dental Assistant School
The Denver Dental Assistant School is a local trade school that instructs students on all the information necessary to pass the certification exam.
Three tuition options exist, full payment of $4,000, a weekly payment of $220 with a $1,490 deposit, or a weekly payment plan of $290 with a $690 deposit.
For these tuition payments, students learn sterilization and infection control, moisture control, radiology, charting, proper oral hygiene, dental instruments, CPR, and more.
Emily Griffith Technical College
Dental assistant graduates from the Emily Griffith Technical College can use their certificate to work as a dental supply representative, work for a dental insurance company, become a dental lab tech assistant, work in a dental front office, or be a chairside dental assistant.
This program lasts seven months and costs around $8,000, not including book and other fees.
Pikes Peak Community College
At Pikes Peak Community College, budding dental assistants can earn an associate of applied science degree in dental assisting, which prepares students for employment in various clinical settings.
Students are given all the knowledge necessary to take and pass the CDA exam.
The curriculum includes dental science, infection control, an introduction to expanded functions, a clinical internship, and more. It takes around two years to earn this associate’s degree.
Vail Valley Dental Assisting School
With a program that only lasts 13 weeks, the Vail Valley Dental Assisting School offerings hands-on training and the ability to take night classes for extra flexibility.
With a cost of just under $1,300, Vail Valley delivers small classes, a 50-hour externship at a local dental practice, 81 hours of lab and lecture, and certification preparation, at one-third the cost of most other programs.
Dental Assitant Schools in Colorado – Summary Table
Top 5 Schools in Colorado
|Colorado School of Dental Assisting – Denver||5001 S Parker Rd, Aurora, CO 80015|
|Denver Dental Assistant School||1555 S Wadsworth Blvd, Lakewood, CO 80232|
|Emily Griffith Technical College||1860 Lincoln St 3rd floor, Denver, CO 80203|
|Pikes Peak Community College||5675 S Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906|
|Vail Valley Dental Assisting School||56 Market St #5, Eagle, CO 81631|
The national media dental assistant’s income is $41,000 per year with pay ranging from $32,000 to $49,400.
In Colorado, the median dental assistant income is slightly higher at $41,300 with a range of $32,400 to almost $50,000 per year.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Dental Assistants in Colorado
Regional Salary in Colorado
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Colorado Springs, CO||1,160||$44,650||$21.47||$60,480||$35,580|
|Fort Collins, CO||490||$45,290||$21.77||$57,960||$36,800|
|Grand Junction, CO||220||$42,230||$20.3||$55,660||$35,230|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Colorado requirements for a dental assistant to operate x-ray equipment?
To legally operate x-ray equipment and conduct dental radiographic procedures, the state requires that the dental assistant be at least 18 years old and has completed education and safety training to operate ionizing radiation machine sources and apply radiation to patients.
What is considered educational and safety training to operate x-ray equipment in Colorado?
To fulfill the state requirements to operate x-ray equipment, dental assistants must complete five hours of clinical or practical experience plus 3.5 hours of lecture totaling 8.5 hours of training.
This program must be accredited by the Private Occupational School Division, the State Board of Occupational Education and Community Colleges, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, or the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Another option is for the training to be produced on the job by a licensed dental hygienist or dentist if the education is Colorado Dental Board approved.
A third option is the completion of the national DANB CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) exam or the DANB RHS (Radiation Health and Safety) exam.
What are the Colorado education requirements to become a dental assistant?
Assuming no additional specialization is planned for the dental assistant, there is no education requirement for the lowest level.
Even for dental assistants to monitor oxygen or nitrous oxide inhalation, they must complete Basic Life Support training.
It is important to note that almost all employers require a formal training program to ensure new hires can hit the ground running with minimal additional training.
What are the Colorado certification requirements?
To become a CDA, which is a nationally-recognized certification, a dental assistant who has graduated from a training program needs 3,500 hours of experience before being eligible to take the exam.
A CDA candidate who has completed a training program can take the exam earlier due to their extra education.
What comprises the CDA examination?
Three examinations are required to become a CDA: GC (Chairside Assisting), ICE (Infection Control), and RHS (Radiation Health and Safety).
If a dental assistant registers for multiple exams simultaneously, the cost per test is significantly lower.
While each of these exams is an individual specialty, they are all required to earn the CDA designation.