Department of Certified Dental Assistant

Certified Dental Assistant students work hands-on in clinical environments

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

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 BCCOHP. To be registered as a Certified Dental Assistant (Dental Auxiliary - Level 2), a student must provide the BCCOHP with the following confirmation:

  • Grade 12 completion or equivalent;
  • Successful completion of a dental assisting program; and
  • CPR Level C and must be current at time of graduation.
  • successful completion of the National Dental Assisting Examining Board Exam


Program spotlight

The Certified Dental Assistant Certificate is a 10 month, provincially regulated program that prepares students to work alongside dentists in clinical practices across B.C.


Search for courses and schedules for the Certified Dental Assistant program.


Tammie Barry

Chair - Certified Dental Assistant
Office: HS Building 302
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 6350
Headshot of Tammie Barry

I am an alumna of Okanagan College, Class of 2000. I have been involved with CDABC as a board member and I am a registrant of CDSBC with a practicing license. Prior to joining the OC Certified Dental Assistant program as an instructor, I worked in general and specialty dental practices. My love of dentistry lead me to my future career as an instructor here at OC. I joined the Certified Dental Assistant program in 2014 and I also teach the Prosthodontic module through continuing studies. I am involved in committees here at OC such as the Interprofessional Educators committee which I believe is important as healthcare professionals to be united and learn from each other’s professional practice. My passion to educate new CDAs is what brought me to my teaching career and the joy I get from watching my students grow, learn and succeed is what truly motivates me as an educator.


Lorna McFadden

Certified Dental Assistant
Office: HS Building 302
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 6370

I have been a Certified Dental Assistant for 30 years and decided it was time to pay it forward and pass along my knowledge and experience. I am an OC alumna and joined the faculty in 2015 as a clinical instructor. I have my prosthodontic module and also teach the module here at OC in Continuing Studies.  I currently work in general practice which I continue practising my skills in an industry that is always evolving. Becoming a CDA educator provides me the opportunity to encourage patient care and professional growth in my students. I enjoy leading a healthy lifestyle and the Okanagan allows me to do that!

CDA, Okanagan College
CCH, Vancouver Academy of Homeopathy
PID, Vancouver Community College

Kathryn Truant

Certified Dental Assistant
Office: HS Building 302
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 6247
Headshot of Kathryn Truant

As an OC alumna, I began my teaching journey in the CDA program in 2018 as a clinical instructor. I also facilitate the Introduction to Dental Assisting course through Continuing Studies at OC, and I am developing advanced skills workshops for CDA’s in our new state-of-the-art dental clinic. I continue to practice as a CDA in the community - I have had a wonderful career in dentistry, in general practice and in oral & maxillofacial surgery. I enjoy promoting an integral health care profession, while fostering and educating the next generation of Certified Dental Assistants.

Master of Education (MEd) Curriculum and Instruction Post-Secondary, Simon Fraser University
Provincial Instructor Diploma (ID), Vancouver Community College
Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Okanagan College

Joanne Gibbons-Smyth

Associate Dean - HSD Dean's Office
Office: HS Building 302
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4221
Certified Dental Assistant Program - Joanne Gibbons-Smith

I am a full-time Certified Dental Assistant instructor at Okanagan College. I started my academic career in 2010, where I was employed as a relief instructor for the program. This inspired me to continue to advance my skills and teaching experience and I was pleased to be appointed into a part time position in 2015 and then a full-time position in 2016 and was the chairperson for the program during these last 6 years. This leadership position has provided opportunities to advance my career and be a collegial educator. Prior to my role in CDA education, I worked as a CDA in various general and specialty offices throughout Vancouver. I relocated to the Okanagan in 2007 and completed my Prosthodontic module at Okanagan College in 2008 which I currently teach. I am passionate about dentistry and participate on professional committees as a CDA and CDA educator provincially and nationally. The Okanagan is a wonderful place to live and raise my family and we enjoy all the beauty it has to offer. With over 15 years of experience, I am proud to share my CDA knowledge and expertise with the current and future students at Okanagan College.

CDA-Certified Dental Assistant (VCC)
M.ED Curriculum & Instruction (SFU)
Instructors Diploma (VCC)

Nina Lesage

Certified Dental Assistant
Office: HS Building 302
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 6371
Headshot of Nina Lesage

I have been a CDA for over 20 years and work also as an Office Co-ordinator. Having sual expertise in various dental offices including my present practice has enabled me to further develop my skills and connections with patients and the dental team. I joined OC in 2015 as a clinical instructor within the CDA program, as well as continuing studies dental administration course instructor. In my own teaching and learning journey I discovered my passion for inspiring the next generation of dental professionals. I enjoy being a part of a student’s “aha” moment when learning a new skill. Being a Certified Dental Assistant is a rewarding career and being able to educate others in this profession truly inspires me.


Join an info session or become a student for a day.


Have your questions answered by an advisor or recruiter. 


Take the next step and enrol in a program or course at OC.