Dental Assisting Admission and Selection Criteria

Applications are usually available during spring semesters; the week before spring break.  The rooms that will have applications are: Health Services building-room 191 front desk; Dental Clinic – DASH 80; and Dental Faculty offices – DASH 98 Front Desk.

The student is solely responsible for meeting all deadlines required for admission to the Dental Assisting Program. This includes, but is not limited to cut-off dates and times for the application process, orientation dates, and submitting any related information required for program admission. Students are also responsible for notifying the program coordinator for any address or mailing changes, name changes, and telephone numbers.


High School Diploma or GED with minimum (Required if not been registered in College or a  university.) GPA of 2.5

Minimum College GPA (if applicable) of 2.8

Complete Application for Admission to DACC and submit with admission fee.

Using the forms provided in this packet arrange for official high school and college transcripts to be  mailed directly from previous schools to DACC Admissions. (GED scores need to be mailed directly from the State Department of Education).

Contact DACC admissions office at 527-7569 to schedule testing. You will need to schedule to take the Compass Test or provide ACT scores. You may begin taking general education and related requirement courses. Refer to program brochure for this information. You may also schedule an appointment with the Advising Office at 527- 7683.

Submit your packet to Martha McCaslin, Program Director, or Rocio Miller, Clinical Coordinator, on or before the cut-off date to be considered for acceptance to the Dental Assisting Program.


The Dental Assisting Certificate Program prepares students to become skilled, certified members of the dental health care team. Assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of oral health care and perform a wide range of tasks requiring both interpersonal and technical skills. The program includes lecture, supervised lab, open lab times, and clinical practicum experiences. Students who complete the program are eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and apply to the state of New Mexico Board of Dental Health for certification in topical fluoride application, dental radiology, coronal polishing and sealant placement. Dental assisting is a selective program with specific admission requirements and a limited enrollment of between 12 and 18 students. Students must apply for and meet all Dona Ana College admission criteria. It is the responsibility of the student interested in the Dental Assisting Program to contact the Program Director for current information.

Students are responsible for all travel expenses to and from the practicum sites.

Students must maintain a “C” average in all courses to continue in the program and receive a certificate.

Nature of Work:   Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties.  The Dental assistant works under the supervision of a dentist in preventive or restorative dentistry with individuals who suffer from injury or disease of the oral cavity.  Assistants also sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment; prepare tray setups for dental procedures; provide postoperative instruction; and instruct patient in oral health care.  Some assistants prepare materials for making impressions and restorations, expose radiographs, and process dental x-ray film as prescribed by the dentist. They may also remove sutures, apply topical anesthetics and cavity preventive agents to teeth and gums, and remove excess cement used in the cementation process of crowns and bridges, and place rubber dams on the teeth to isolate them for individual treatment.

Laboratory duties include making casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions, cleaning and polishing removable appliances, and making temporary crowns.  Dental assistants with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patient, keep treatment records, send bills, and order dental supplies and materials.

Job Opportunities: Job prospects for dental assistants are good.  Employment is expected to grow much faster then the average for all occupations through the year 2030. The place of employment is in general, specialty institutional, Public Health, military and civil service practices; as well as in dental insurance networking and dental supply companies.

Entry Salary:  Salary scale varies per area of employment, dental practice (special, general, ect) and experience.  Latest surveys for starting salary range for the state of New Mexico average from $11.00 minimum to $20.00 maximum per hour.  DACC graduates and other graduates from other accredited programs thought the state average a starting salary of $10.00 to $20.00 per hour. Students that do not pass their DANB radiology examination find it harder to find employment.  The state of New Mexico requires that dental health care workers have to be certified to be able to expose patients with radiation.

Hours:  most dental assistants have a 32-40 hour work week which may include work on Saturday’s or extended hours in the evening.  Almost all dental assistants work in private dental offices.

Dental Assisting students have the potential to be exposed to Blood-Borne Pathogens, such as Hepatitis B, AIDS/HIV and other potentially infectious diseases. More information can be obtained in the Dental Assisting Program application and student handbook.