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Prepare for a Career as a Dental Assistant

Dental assistants provide patient care and maintain patient records, in addition to working closely with dentists and dental hygienists and assisting during procedures and examinations. Job opportunities are excellent and are expected to continue to grow, especially as research continues to show the link between oral health and overall health.

Why Choose NECC?

At NECC, the Dental Assisting Certificate will provide you with the knowledge and practical skills required to work as an entry-level dental assistant. With this program, you will:

  • Participate in classroom study, laboratory practice, and clinical experiences
  • Learn about general dentistry and different specialties, including endodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, and pediatric dentistry
  • Gain real-world experience through a practicum (internship) working in a dental office
  • Have the opportunity to analyze dental assisting procedures, patient care, and hear guest lectures

Because of NECC

The Dental Assisting Certificate Program at NECC will prepare you to work in private dental offices or specialty practices. You can also transfer into either a two-year or four-year program for dental hygiene. Upon completion of the program, you will be prepared to:

  • Take the Certification for Dental Assistants examination sponsored by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc.
  • Become a Certified Dental Assistant upon successfully passing the Certification for Dental Assistants examination
  • Seek a job as a dental assistant in a private dental office or general or specialty practice


A lot of people hire NECC dental assistants because they hear such great things about the program.”

Taylor Early, Dental Assisting Certificate


Courses, Requirements, and Program Notes


Program Pathway

A pathway is the most efficient sequence of courses semester-to-semester recommended for students to complete their degree. View the suggested pathway for .

Career Paths & Job Market

Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

Job prospects for Dental Assisting are excellent as Dentists are expected to hire more assistants to perform routine tasks so that they may devote their own time to more complex procedures. See the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information about this exciting career choice, including expected median salary and job trends.

Transferring to a 4 year College or University

Transferring to a 4 year College or University

Students who complete a certificate program in Dental Assisting may choose to directly enter the workforce or they may transfer into either a two-year or a four-year program for Dental Hygiene. (Some Dental Hygiene programs are two-year and some are four-year.) Associate Degree graduates may also benefit from the Joint Admissions Program available among participating public higher education programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please contact the Academic Advising Department for further information. Students may also refer to the Transfer Services page.


Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator

Davann Chhem

Office: L-030 D Phone: 978-738-7657 Email:

Faculty Contact Information

Faculty Contact Information

Donna Marquis, BS, RDH, CDA, Instructor

Office: L-030 B Phone: 978-738-7298 Email:

Joseph Beninato, DMD, Part-Time Faculty, Division of Continuing Education

Office: L-030 B Phone: 978-738-7429 Email:

Additional Information



The objectives of the Dental Assisting Program include assisting students in the development of:

  • Clinical competency in the knowledge and skills required to systematically collect data to assist the dentist in forming a diagnostic treatment plan.
  • Clinical competency in the knowledge and skills required to perform a variety of clinical supportive treatments.
  • Competency in basic practice management software skills required to support the utilization of electronic records within the dental practice.
  • The necessary writing skills to practice successfully within the dental assisting profession.
  • Intellectual skills that will demonstrate critical thinking ability.
  • The necessary social skills, cultural diversity awareness, and professional attributes to practice successfully within the dental profession.


The mission of the Dental Assisting Program is to prepare competent entry-level dental assistants who will be able to function professionally in all aspects of the dental office and meet the employment needs of regional dental facilities.



The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611, (312) 440-4653.



Goals & Learning Objectives

Goal 1

Students/Graduates will demonstrate clinical competence in collecting and analyzing data

Learning Outcomes

Complete patient information on the dental record including medical and dental histories, vital signs and tooth charting annotations. Assist with or perform an extra/intraoral examination and record findings. Expose, process and mount dental radiographs using both traditional and digital techniques. Take occlusal records and preliminary impressions and prepare study casts.

Goal 2

Students/Graduates will demonstrate clinical competence to perform clinical supportive treatments

Learning Outcomes

Manage infection control and hazard communication protocol consistent with published guidelines. Apply current concepts of four handed dentistry for all chairside procedures including preparing tray set-ups, maintaining treatment area and providing pre and post-operative instructions to the patient. Perform or assist with the performance of the following clinical procedures: coronal polishing, the application of topical anesthetic, dental dam, fluoride agents and occlusal sealants. Provide patient preventive education and oral hygiene instruction. Assist in the management of medical emergencies. Apply and manipulate chairside and laboratory dental materials.

Goal 3

Students/Graduates demonstrate basic practice management skills

Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate basic computer skills including word processing, email and the use of the Internet. Use various electronic record software to support dental practice management. Function at the entry level in dual role as clinical and administrative dental assistant.

Goal 4

Students/Graduates will communicate effectively in a professional business environment

Learning Outcomes

Produce and present clear and well organized writing that responds appropriately to an assignment using standard American English. Produce clear and well organized oral reports that respond appropriately to an assignment using standard American English.

Goal 5

Students/Graduates will demonstrate problem solving and critical thinking skills

Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving abilities in order to be able to adapt to different patient conditions. Evaluate the evidence and data relevant to a topic of inquiry and draw conclusions from source materials.

Goal 6

Students/Graduates will demonstrate an understanding of professionalism

Learning Outcomes

Effectively communicate with patients, family members and other members of the healthcare team. Exhibit professional conduct including reliability, responsibility, honesty and ethical behavior. Utilize various resources to earn continuing education credits in order to maintain credentials and continue their life long learning.

Additional Dental Assisting Program Costs
Dental Practices That Help Support Our Students

Dental Practices That Help Support Our Students

The NECC Dental Assisting Program Would Like to Thank the Dental Practices That Help Support Our Students

Partnering with these exceptional dentists and their team members makes an extremely significant contribution to dental assisting student success. We wanted to publicly thank these practices and recognize them as as partners in the education of our students. As exceptional oral health care providers — we highly recommend these practices to the public. Thank You! (Huge emphasis)

The Dentists We Have Partnered With

Karl Arakelian, DMD

General Dentistry Bradford, MA Website

John Ahern, DMD

General Dentistry Derry, NH Website

David Bardwell, DMD

General Dentistry No. Andover, MA Website

Charles Beliveau, DDS

Dental Partners of Newburyport LLC Newburyport, MA Website

Joseph Beninato, DMD, Riverwalk Dental

General Dentistry Lawrence, MA Website

Karim Berty, DMD, MD

Bay State Oral Surgery Lawrence, MA Website

Thomas Bower, DMD

General Dentistry Bradford, MA Website

Stanley Burba, DMD

Burba Dental Partners General Dentistry Salem, MA Website

Ivy Chen, DDS, MMSc

Kathleen Chan, DDS, MMSc Orthodontics Andover, MA Website

Shih Mei Chiang, DDS, MS

Periodontist Methuen, MA

Entela Cika, DMD, Dental Arts

General Dentistry Lawrence, MA Website

Vera D. Cooke, DDS MD

Newburyport Oral Surgery Newburyport, MA Website

Randall Davis, DMD

General Dentistry Lawrence, MA Website

Nicholas J. Dimauro, DDS

Middleton Dental Care General Dentistry Middleton, MA Website

Maria Dona, DDS

Periodontics Andover, MA Website

Lindi Ezekowitz, DDS

Pediatric Dentistry Newburyport, MA Website

Joseph Giordano, DMD

Merrimack Valley Orthodontics Orthodontics Lawrence, MA Website

Ian Glick, DMD

Endodontic Specialists Methuen, MA Website

Francis Grzejka, DMD

Oral Surgery Methuen, MAEndodontic Specialists

Gerald Hirsch, DMD, Newburyport Dental Assoc.

General Dentistry Newburyport, MA Website

James Holland, DMD

Orthodontics Hampstead, NH

Richard Hopgood, DMD

General Dentistry Andover, MA Website

Kenneth Kalil, DMD, Kalil Dental Assoc. Inc.

General Dentistry Methuen, MA Website

Lindner Dental Associates

General Dentistry, Orthodontics Pediatric Dentistry Bedford, NH Website

Maritza Morrell, DMD

Pediatric Dentistry Lawrence, MA & Andover, MA Website

Donald Nelson, DMD

Orthodontics Danvers, MA Website

John Pavlo, DMD

Orthodontics Peabody, MA Website

James Quinn, DDS

Pediatric Dentistry Newburyport, MA

Marissa Ramos, DMD

Lowell Tooth Docs General Dentistry Lowell, MA Website

Norman Rogers, DDS, Merrimack Dental Assoc.

General Dentistry Methuen, MA

Albert Sandler, DMD

Methuen Cosmetic Dentistry General Dentistry Methuen, MA Website

Apara Sharma, DMD

General Dentistry Andover, MA Website

Arno Topp, DMD

General Dentistry Lawrence, MA Website

Thomas Torrisi, DDS

General Dentistry Methuen, MA Website

Cathleen Wallent, DMD

General Dentistry Lawrence, MA

Richard Workman

General Dentistry Windham, NH

Required Documents

Criteria Packets Technical Standards CORI/CHRI/SORI

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