Certified Dental Assistant Certificate

Do you want to work alongside a dentist? This program provides the education, training and experience required by the British Columbia College of Oral Health Professionals (BCCOHP) for registration as a Certified Dental Assistant.

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Certified Dental Assistant students learn hands-on skills in the dental lab


  • Kelowna
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  • Full program offered
  • Partial program offered



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Tuition and fees

2023-24: $5,267.18

Program details

The Certified Dental Assistant program at Okanagan College provides the education, training and experience required by the BC College of Oral Health Professionals (BCCOHP) for registration as a Certified Dental Assistant.

Graduates work as certified dental assistants in dental offices under the supervision of a dentist.

Services may include:

  • assisting the dentist with dental procedures such as fillings, crown and bridge, root canal therapy, and surgical procedures;

  • preparing materials for use by the dentist;

  • processing and sterilizing dental instruments;

  • providing education to patients about oral health; and performing preventive procedures such as polishing teeth, applying fluoride and sealants; and

  • patient X-rays and other diagnostic records.

Certified Dental Assistants work as team members and require excellent communication skills, commitment to oral health, and professionalism.

This program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada and approved by the BC College of Oral Health Professionals. To be registered as a Certified Dental Assistant (Dental Auxiliary - Level II), a student must provide the British Columbia College of Oral Health Professionals with the following confirmation:

  • grade 12 completion or equivalent;

  • successful completion of a dental assisting program; and

  • C.P.R. Level C and must be current at time of graduation.

  • successful completion of the National Dental Assisting Examining Board Exam

Before the practicum portion begins, students learn specific procedures and administrative tasks required to work in a dental office and how to best care for patients. A supervised practicum at the end of the program allows students to practice and gain hands-on experience.

Dental office practicums and placements may be anywhere in B.C., so travel may be required.

Students will be required to have a dental assistant uniform for labs and other supplies related to coursework.

A Certified Dental Assistant typically works in dental offices, but can also work in clinic settings and educational institutions. The B.C. Labour Market Outlook predicts that there will be 1,280 job openings in the next ten years, with a forecasted average employment growth rate of 2.4 per cent in the Thompson-Okanagan region.

Prosthodontic module

This continuing studies course is offered to CDAs or Dental Hygienists as a professional development opportunity, to expand their skills with the prosthodontic module.

View prosthodontic module

Orthodontic module

This continuing studies course is offered to CDAs or Dental Hygienists as a professional development opportunity, to expand their skills with the orthodontic module.

View orthodontic module

Hours: Mon - Thu, 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., Fridays, 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Do you need to upgrade? Contact adult upgrading.

Campus Start date Schedule
Kelowna Aug. 28, 2023

Admission requirements

  • B.C. secondary school graduation, or equivalent, or 19 years of age and out of secondary school for one year as of the first day of classes
  • English 12 with a minimum 60% or alternatives.
  • A minimum grade of 60% in Biology 12, Anatomy and Physiology 12, or an equivalent Provincial Level ABE Biology course
  • A dental examination confirming healthy teeth and oral tissues.
  • A criminal record check clearance from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Criminal Records Review Office. Okanagan College's admission offices will provide applicants with instructions and forms for applicants to submit to the Solicitor General's Office and a deadline for the College to receive the clearance letter. Applicants should only initiate their criminal record check when instructed by Admissions. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline will result in a cancellation of the applicant's admission application.
  • Evidence of a negative tuberculin test, within six months of application or adequate follow-up in the case of a positive test.
  • Evidence of successful completion of a Red Cross Standard First Aid or St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid and a Basic Life Support, CPR Level C course no more than 12 months before the first day of classes.
  • Applicants are strongly advised to ensure their immunization status is current. Vaccination for hepatitis B is strongly recommended.
  • Applicants are advised to attend the annual Certified Dental Assistant Program's orientation session and will be notified of the date. (It is usually held in the spring.) Please note that this program is popular and early application is strongly recommended.
  • Okanagan College reserves the right to deny admission to any applicant when, in the opinion of OC, there is significant and substantial evidence, medical or otherwise, to conclude that by granting admission, OC would jeopardize the safety of patients under student care or would otherwise be negligent in providing for the safety and well-being of patients, dental office staff or other students. Applicants are advised that students in this program are expected to engage actively in laboratory practice, acting both as patient/client and as caregiver in simulated situations.

Selection Criteria

  • As this program generally receives a large number of applications, the following criteria will be used to select the class. By submitting the selection criteria form(s) a student may be offered a seat in the class prior to another applicant with no points, as applicants with the most points get priority.
    • Relevant experience such as 'chairside' dental assisting experience in British Columbia or equivalent, validated by submission of the required reference form by the actual employer. Point Value: 2

    • Relevant experience as a dental receptionist or dental laboratory technician/assistant validated by submission of the required reference form* by the actual employer. Point Value: 4 (maximum 2 points per position)

    • Completion of Okanagan College's DENT 001 (Introduction to Dental Assisting) or an equivalent course, a Dental Reception program, or full or partial completion of another Dental Assisting program, validated by submission of official transcripts. Point Value: 2 (maximum 1 point per certificate or DENT 001)

    • Demonstration of prior interest in the program, validated by completing the application process the year immediately preceding the current one at OC Point Value: 1

    • Maximum points students can be awarded is 9.

Program outline


The program consists of three levels. Each level must be successfully completed before students can begin the next level. These levels consist of both theory and clinical classes.

Level 1

CDA 100 - Anatomy, Histology, Embryology & Pathology
CDA 101 - Infection Prevention and Control
CDA 102 - Preparation for Clinical Practice
CDA 104 - Restorative Fundamentals
CDA 110 - Clinic Lab I

Level 2

CDA 200 - Dental Radiography
CDA 201 - Dental Specialties
CDA 210 - Clinic Lab II
CDA 203 - Dental Office Practicum

Level 3

CDA 300 - Dental Reception and Employment Preparation
CDA 301 - Fixed and Removable Prosthodontics
CDA 310 - Clinic Lab III
CDA 302 - Direct Patient Care
CDA 303 - Dental Office Practicum

A pass in each of the Practicas and a minimum grade of 70 in each other course.

Additional information

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View the Tuition and fees page


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