Dental Assistant | Western Technical College

Dental Assistant

Technical Diploma

Program Number: 



Financial Aid Eligible

Typical Start: 


Take on an important role in the healthcare sector by becoming dental assistant. In this career, you'll do more than traditional chairside assistance; you'll actively engage with patients, guiding them toward optimal oral health practices. Your responsibilities will extend to assisting dentists in various dental procedures, including general dentistry, oral surgery, endodontics, orthodontics, and pediatrics. You may also have opportunities to work in a dental lab, perform x-rays, schedule appointments, and manage office tasks.

Western's comprehensive technical diploma courses are designed to equip you with the skills necessary to excel in private practices, dental groups, or governmental agencies focused on dental services. The program covers essential skills, including four-handed dentistry, dental anatomy, radiography techniques, oral hygiene principles, adherence to OSHA standards, and effective communication.

Upon completion, you'll have the chance to enhance your credentials by pursuing certification through the Dental Assisting National Board examination. This opens doors to a fulfilling and impactful career in dental healthcare.

Program-specific courses are held in the Health Science Center, a shared facility located a few blocks from the La Crosse main campus. Check our maps page for specific location information.

Dental Assistant Image
Estimated Program Costs

Estimated Program Cost

Dental Assistant

This program will cost about $5,581* based on tuition and basic program fees. There may be additional fees for books, materials, and testing. For more information on tuition costs, view the Tuition page or Cost of Attendance document.

* Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Graduation Employment Stats

Dental Assistant 2020-2021 Graduation Employment Stats

Graduates Responding6
Employed in Related Occupation6
Employed in Non-related Occupations0
Seeking Employment0
Continuing Education0
Not in Labor Market0

Salary Data - Related Employment

Part TimeFull Time
Average Hours Per Week37
Median Hourly Wage$17.50
Hourly Wage Range$16.50-$19.00
Median Annual Salary$35,565

Respondents in Related Occupations

  • Dental Assistant, Lead Dental Assistant

Career Opportunities

Dental Assistant
Dental Office Manager
Chairside Dental Assistant
Dental/Ortho Assistant
Dental Review Coordinator

Program Outcomes

  • Living responsibly
  • Refining professionalism
  • Cultivating passion
  • DA-1 year: Perform a variety of advanced supportive dental procedures
  • DA-1 year: Manage infection and hazard control
  • DA-1 year: Produce diagnostic intraoral and extraoral radiographs on a variety of patients
  • DA-1 year: Perform advanced dental laboratory procedures
  • DA-1 year: Demonstrate professional behaviors, ethics, and appearance
  • DA-1 year: Perform dental office business procedures

Admission Requirements

College Requirements

$30 Application Fee
High School or GED/HSED Transcript

Additional Requirements

To enroll in the Dental Assistant program, first apply for admission to the College, then read the program's Technical Standards and complete a background check.  You can find links to these documents below.  In addition, you must complete a Job Shadow at a dental office.  The last step for admission to the program will be to complete an Intent to Enroll form. Please see the details below.

Software and Technology

Most of Western’s classes require the use of a personal computer or laptop, standard software, internet access, and other technology-related items.

If you do not have a personal computer or laptop, or if the one you have does not meet the following criteria, resources may be available. Submit a Student Resource Request using our online form.

Computer/Laptop Hardware

  • Smartphones are not recommended for completing assignments.
  • Chromebooks are not recommended due to issues with installing software that is needed for classes, such as Office 365.
  • Web camera with microphone (usually built into newer laptops or can be purchased separately) is necessary for online participation.

Software Needs

For detailed specifications, please review Technology and Software Recommendations for Most Classes on Western’s IT Knowledgebase.

Campus Resources

Need Assistance?

  • Contact the Learning Commons! The staff are happy to answer questions, provide individualized assistance, and direct you to other supports as needed.


The program in Dental Assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. 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:


Additional Information

For more information, view the Dental Assistant Program Handbook.

Program Contact

Lisa Mikkelson
Program Chair, Dental Assistant

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