An NMC Dental Assistant program student performs a dental procedure

Dental Assistant Degrees and Certificates

Dental assistant photoThe Dental Assistant Program offers both a two-year Associate of Applied Science Degree and a one-year Certificate of Achievement. Completion of either program qualifies students to take the Michigan state board exam and, after passing the exam, students may practice as Registered Dental Assistants. Program completers are also eligible to take the National Certification exam which is recognized nationwide.

A dental assistant is a member of a highly-qualified health team who has varied duties and flexible hours. While most dental assistants work as chairside or business assistants, other career paths include lab technicians, insurance consulting, dental supply sales, and instructors.

Career Outlook/Earnings Potential

  • Nationally, employment of dental assistants is expected to grow by 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Nationally, the median annual salary for dental assistants was $41,180 in 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics- O-NET Online

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Degree Requirements

Please contact the Dental Assistant Program Director for complete information.

Articulation Agreements

Course Descriptions »

Course Sequence Guides

Program Requirements

Program Outcomes »

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This program meets the requirements for preparation or licensing in the state of Michigan. The applicability of this program to requirements of other states has not been determined.

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Program Requirements

Program Contact Information:

Deb Kaser, Dental Assistant Program Director

  • (231) 995-1250
  • Northwestern Michigan College, 1701 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686

Dental Assistant Program Policy Manual (PDF) »

Student Rights & Responsibilities »

Student Rights & Responsibilities - process »

NMC Course Refund Policy »

Dental Assistant Videos

Dental assisting and using an intraoral camera

Demo of sterilization and placing a rubber dam

Placing a silver filling and academic classes info

Making bleaching trays and lab procedures

Successful Graduates

“I was very nervous going back to school and changing my career from a child care provider to a dental assistant. The instructors were wonderful in all aspects (caring, knowledgeable, helpful, organized, and patient) which made the program a truly great experience. I look forward to work every day and being a part of a team that always puts our patients first and continues to help me grow as a person and professional.”

Andrea Saunby, RDA,
Traverse City, Michigan

 “I was very pleased with the Dental Assistant program at NMC. It definitely exceeded my expectations! The instructors are both wonderful and are very willing & happy to help their students succeed during the program and even after graduation. I'm very happy with my career choice and am thankful to have went through such a great program!"

Jessica Phillips,
Dental Assistant at Suttons Bay Dental Care,
Suttons Bay, Michigan