Tennessee Dental Assistant Schools and Salary Guide

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Working as a dental assistant may be a very rewarding job if you enjoy helping and working with people.

As a dental assistant, you may need to have a strong set of soft skills to be successful in this job.

Candidates can prepare themselves for a career as a dental assistant by enrolling in an accredited institution, completing either an externship or an internship, and completing the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam.

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5 Dental Assistant Schools in Tennessee

We have selected five schools for this article.

The following schools all offer CODA Accredited Dental Assistant Programs.

In addition, the programs will also qualify students for the dental radiology certificate.

Chattanooga State Community College

Chattanooga State Community College Logo

The school offers a Dental Assistant Associate Degree course that runs over five semesters.

The total cost of the course for in-state students is $14,181.45 and includes all books and materials.

Out-of-state students will pay $43,873,45.

Students are exposed to clinical training experiences where they can work in a dentist’s office or at the Dental Center on the Chattanooga State campus.

Upon completion of the course, students are eligible to register as Dental Assistants.

In addition, students will have state certifications in:

  • Sealant Application
  • Coronal Polishing
  • Dental Radiology
  • Monitoring Nitrous Oxide

Northeast State Technical Community College

Northeast State Technical Community College Logo

This school offers a technical certificate in Dental Assistance.

The course is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Upon completion of the course, students may sit for the Dental Assistant National Board Examination and then complete registration for the state of Tennessee.

The course is completed over two to four semesters and consists of 49 credits.

The estimated cost of this course is  $9,221.50.

Apart from the various subjects covered in the course, students will be expected to complete 300 hours of clinical experience.

This course includes laboratory, pre-clinical and clinical instruction.

It prepares students for an entry-level position.

South College

South College Logo

The school has campuses all over the state.

They offer a nine-month certificate course in Dental Assistance at their Nashville campus.

The course is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and prepares students for an entry-level position as Dental assistants.

Students may be eligible to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) examination upon completion of the course.

In addition, students may pursue the following qualifications upon completion of this course:

  • Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene

The tuition rate works on a scale.

The more credits you pursue, the less the fee per credit hour is.

For example, students may expect to pay $2,100 per credit if the student pursues only one credit and $310 per credit if the student pursue ten or more credits.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Knoxville

Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Knoxville Logo

The school offers a corticate in Dental Assistance that runs over 12 months and is a total of 1,296 credit hours.

This is a full-time course that runs Monday through Friday from 8 am to 2:30 pm.

The total tuition for this course is $4,023.00 and the fee for books is an additional $2,060.76.

Upon successful completion, students are awarded a certificate of Dental Sterilization Technician and a diploma in Dental Assisting.

The deadline for the fall application is on July 13, 2022.

Volunteer State Community College

Volunteer State Community College Logo

The school offers a certificate course in Dental Assisting.

The program runs over twelve months from August to August each year and consists of didactic and clinical instruction.

In addition, upon completion, students are prepared to sit for the following examinations:

  • Dental Assistant National Board certification examination
  • Tennessee Board of Dentistry registry examination

This program is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Due to the nature of things that students are exposed to in this course, the course strictly follows guidelines as set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Fees are calculated on a scale with the total cost for one credit hour being $215.00 and the total for 18 credit hours, being $2,424.00.

Dental Assistant Schools in Tennessee – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Tennessee

School NameAddress
Chattanooga State Community College4501 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37406
Northeast State Technical Community College2425 TN-75, Blountville, TN 37617
South College616 Marriott Dr, Nashville, TN 37214
Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Knoxville1100 Liberty St, Knoxville, TN 37919
Volunteer State Community College1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066

Salary

Students who complete an accredited course and pass the national exam may expect an entry-level salary of $29,144 in the state of Tennessee.

The median salary in this industry is $37,174 and those candidates on the higher end of the scale may expect to earn up to $44,953 per year.

Annual Salary Range:
$32K
$37K
$41K

Average Salary of Dental Assistants in Tennessee

City NameSalary
Memphis$37,919
Nashville-Davidson$38,027
Knoxville$37,542
Chattanooga$36,891
Clarksville$37,166
Murfreesboro$37,740
Jackson$37,632
Johnson City$35,613
Kingsport$35,746
Franklin$37,894
* Salary information last updated 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to sit for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam?

Yes.

In order to be recognized as a Registered Dental Assistant, you will need to participate in and successfully pass the exam.

Is there a demand for this position in Tennessee?

Currently, there is a demand for this position in all states in the United States.

In fact, there is an expected 11% growth predicted over the next decade.

Is this job stressful?

This job can be very taxing physically, as individuals are expected to be on their feet for most of the day.

In terms of psychological stress, this job is not quite as stressful as other jobs in this industry.

Do I need to be certified and licensed to get a job as a dental assistant in Tennessee?

There are no prerequisites in the state of Tennessee.

However, pre-registration is required.

You may also be able to prove that requirements are met through your DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential.

This will differ from state to state.

Always check with the state you intend on working in.

Why is an externship important?

The externship will help students to apply the skills they have learned in training in a real-life setting to help them gain the knowledge and experience required for graduation.

It usually takes place in the last module of training.

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