Now is the perfect time to start your career as a dental assistant. L&C’s program is the perfect place to learn.

Dental practice has been changing rapidly, with more and more dentists employing chairside assistants and dental office administrators than ever before. This trend is projected to continue through the decade.

You’ll benefit from small class sizes (as low as 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio) and personalized instruction while studying clinical practices; disease processes of the head and neck; infection control; diagnostic and therapeutic practices; radiographic and laboratory procedures; dental terminology; ethics law; patient communication; office management and more.

Plus, our graduates have a 100 percent rate of success when seeking employment positions as dental assistants upon graduation.

Students will participate in clinical experiences at local dental offices and at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine during their final semester.

This program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and encompasses the most progressive trends in current dental practice.

Upon graduation, you’ll be ready and able to step confidently into a position as a dental assistant or continue your education in a related career such as dental hygiene, dental laboratory technology or dentistry.

Certified Dental Assistants are employed by:

  • Dental offices for private or group practitioners
  • Dental schools
  • Hospitals and public health departments
  • Nursing homes
  • Correctional facilities
  • Military installations
  • Community clinics

Dental Assisting is a one-year selective admissions program.

Students who choose to continue their education beyond Dental Assisting may apply for L&C’s Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene, thanks to the college’s unique career laddering program in dental.

Course Transferability:

  1. Program-specific dental courses are not designed to transfer in or out of the L&C dental programs.
  2. The L&C 1+1 curriculum design between Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene requires full completion of an ADA-CODA accredited dental assisting program to qualify for Dental Hygiene admission. Courses in the completed Dental Assisting program must be formally evaluated by L&C dental program coordinators to ensure that all required Dental Assisting course content was included to meet this dental hygiene guideline.
  3. Some required dental program courses are considered general education and/or science courses. Lewis and Clark Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and general education and science courses are designed to transfer out to other regionally accredited institutions. However, course equivalency is determined by the reciprocal institution. L&C only accepts general education and science courses from regionally accredited institutions, and each course is formally evaluated to determine L&C course equivalency. We encourage students to work with L&C academic advisors regarding the transferability of specific general education and science courses.

Notice to patients and potential dental assisting applicants:
Enrolled students and patients are exposed to bloodborne pathogens. These include (but are not limited) to pathogenic microorganisms present in human blood and have the potential to cause diseases such as Hepatitis HBV, Herpes, Tuberculosis and HIV. The Bloodborne Pathogen policy is available by contacting the Dental Assisting Program.


  • Dental Assisting | Certificate of Proficiency

See the catalog for the course and degree information
*This is only meant as a guide. Please see an advisor when planning your courses.

Apply Now

I'd Like More Info


Applicants MUST download the Admissions Guide and familiarize themselves with program information, deadlines and requirements.

Download the Admissions Guide

The Admissions Guide includes the following information:

  • Program application instructions and admission checklist (Admission documentation is due to the enrollment center by Feb. 1 for the following fall start, required testing is in January for the following fall start… see page 10 for further details.)
  • College discrimination/harassment policy statement
  • Program goals and philosophy
  • Certification and other qualifications
  • Career description and opportunities
  • Current job outlook details
  • Course transferability in and out of the L&C dental programs
  • Program curriculum outline
  • Estimated program costs
  • Required pre-entrance exam dates, location, and other details (***Please note – completion of this exam is an admission requirement, and applicants who do not take it will not be considered for admission. Testing dates range from November through the first week of January to qualify for application for the program that starts the following August. See page 10 of the Admission Guide for specific information about the test and all registration details.
  • Dental programs faculty member names, areas of study, degrees earned, and conferring institutions

Applicants ranked as alternate or conditional candidates will not be considered for admission after the Monday prior to the start of fall classes.


The L&C 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 is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678. The Commission’s web address is:

The Commission on Dental Accreditation will review complaints that relate to a program's compliance with the accreditation standards. The Commission is interested in the sustained quality and continued improvement of dental and dental-related education programs but does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeal for treatment received by patients or individuals in matters of admission, appointment, promotion or dismissal of faculty, staff or students.

A copy of the appropriate accreditation standards and/or the Commission's policy and procedure for submission of complaints may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678 or by calling 1-800-621-8099, extension 4653.

Student Achievement Data

L&C Dental Assisting Program

First-Time Pass Rates for the Dental Assisting National Board
Certified Dental Assistant Exam
2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
86% 92% 71% 82% 100%

Licensure Information

Graduates from the Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) dental assisting program are qualified to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Exam. This DANB certification is not a requirement for dental assisting in the state of Illinois, with the exception of language in the Illinois Dental Practice Act specifically related to “additional allowable duties” or “expanded functions.” Graduation from the L&C dental assisting program includes certification for the following additional allowable duties in the state of Illinois only: pit and fissure sealant placement (upon submission of the “six signature form” to the program) and coronal polishing. Lewis and Clark Community College has not determined if the Certificate of Proficiency in Dental Assisting program meets the state education requirements in any other state, any U.S. Territory, or the District of Columbia. Students considering certification/licensure in other states, U.S. Territories, or the District of Columbia should contact the appropriate licensing agency in the area where students may plan to be certified/licensed prior to enrollment at Lewis and Clark Community College to determine if the coursework meets those requirements.