A Dental Assistant performs specific procedures on patients, exposes and processes radiographs, assists chairside, prepares and delivers dental materials, and participates in laboratory procedures. Dental Assistants may perform only under the direct supervision of a dentist.
The Program strives to prepare the student to function efficiently as an integral member of the dental team by utilizing various educational experiences. Students will be able to:
- Perform the clinical, laboratory, administrative, and educational skills of a dental assistant needed for various dental environments.
- Demonstrate effective asepsis and infection control management according to accepted guidelines.
- Practice dental assisting within the legal and ethical boundaries set forth by the state.
- Demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning and professional advancement in the healthcare delivery system.
- Demonstrate effective communication skills with patients and other dental team members.
Acceptance into the Dental Assistant program is dependent upon the following entrance requirements:
- Completed Harcum College Application
- Official high school transcriptor GED transcript. This requirement is waived for applicants who have completed a bachelor's degree, unless specifically requested.
- SAT or ACT scores, if taken (critical reading and math scores only).
- Official college transcript(s), if applicable
- Completion of high school biology (with lab) and college preparatory mathematics with a grade of C or higher (or vocational training in Dental Assisting. College courses may be substituted for any of these courses.
- GPA of 2.0 and/or minimum SAT score of 750 (critical reading and math scores only).
- Typed personal essay explaining why you chose chose your desired major.
- TOEFL scores are required for students for whom English is a second language
- Letter(s) of recommendation from an employer, teacher, guidance counselor, etc.
Accepted students must show proof of the following:
- Medical and legal clearances. Process for submission of these documents will be mailed to students with their admissions packet. All forms are managed electronically via Certified Background and updated annually (see tuition page for additional fees):
- Child Abuse Clearance
- Criminal Record Check - Child abuse history will and a criminal record may exclude
the student from participation in the clinical component of the Dental
Assisting/EFDA program and may prevent the state of Pennsylvania from
granting EFDA certification.
- Current (not older than one year) physical exam
- Influenza vaccination
- Two-step PPD test (if positive, chest x-ray necessary)
- Nine panel urine drug screen
- Proof of medical insurance is required.
- Proof of current certification from an approved CPR course, including adult, child, infant and AED prior to enrolling in Dental Assisting I. Current certification must be maintained throughout the program.
- Purchase of designated uniform scrubs and jacket (download order form), shoes, name tags, textbooks, and manuals.
- Attend the mandatory Dental Assisting Program Orientation
- Student is responsible for transportation to/from clinical sites and/or parking fees.
The essential functions, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the dental assisting curriculum. The essential abilities required by the curriculum are in the following areas: intellectual, motor, sensory, communication, environmental and the behavioral and social aspects of the performance as a dental assistant. These are attributes that each student must possess and the use of a third party for the fulfillment of these attributes is not adequate.
Intellectual: The program requires essential abilities in information acquisition. The student must have the ability to master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, demonstrations, independent study, clinical experiences, written material, material presented through computer imaging and projected images. The student must have the ability to complete reading assignments and to search and evaluate scientific literature. The ability to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and
understand the spatial relationship of the structures is important. Further, the student must be able to complete computer-based assignments and use the computer for searching, recording, storing and retrieving information. The student must have the ability to recall, comprehend, integrate, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize. Problem solving skills are essential.
Motor/Sensory: The student must have fine motor function and the manual dexterity to provide dental assisting skills when working with patients and assisting the dentist. Students must be able to negotiate and function in the clinical patient care environment. Functional vision, hearing, motor and tactile sensation must be adequate to perform those duties delegated by the dentist, including but not limited to: manipulation and delivery of dental materials, exposure of radiographs and evacuation and retraction of the oral cavity. The student must possess the visual ability to assess and provide services in the oral cavity and interpret radiographs.
Communication: Students must be able to communicate clearly and effectively in both the academic and clinical setting. The
student must demonstrate the ability to write coherently, using appropriate grammar, mechanics, punctuation, spelling and diction. Written communication in the clinical setting must be complete, legible and accurate. The student must be able to verbally communicate in a professional manner with patients, faculty and other members of the dental care team.
Environmental: Students must be able to work in a clinical environment that is required to follow guidelines for infection control.
This may include chemical solutions and aerosols for surface disinfection. Protective gloves, masks, eye-wear and clinical attire must be worn.
Behavioral and Social: The student must be able to work in a cooperative, professional and ethical manner with individuals of
differing personalities and background. Being able to participate effectively as an integral part of the team is important. Students must possess the emotional health required to complete all academic and clinical requirements and follow appropriate protocol. The student must be able to understand the basis and content of dental ethics. The student must be able to identify the components of professional behavior and perform accordingly. This includes time management skills, communication styles and interactions.
The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements.” The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted 312-440-4653 or at 211 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.