Program Schedule

DA101 Introduction to Dental Assisting 2 credit hours
DA103 Chairside Dental Assisting 4 credit hours
DA104 Dental Radiology 4 credit hours
DA298 Clinical Applications I 2 credit hours
Eng 101 3 credit hours
Semester 1 Total 15 credit hours
DA106 Dental Materials 4 credit hours
DA202 Dental Specialties 4 credit hours
DA299 Clinical Applications II 2 credit hours
Comm 101 2 credit hours
Psych 101 3 credit hours
Semester 2 Total 16 credit hours
Dental Assisting Certificate 31 Credit Hours
Prairie State College's Dental Assisting program is located in our state-of-the-art Health/Tech Center.
202 S. Halsted St., Chicago Heights, IL 60411

Enrollment Services
Selective Admissions
Phone: 708-709-3515
Fax: 708-709-3951

Program Overview
Please note the following:
The schedule is set for all students in the program. The student does not choose when to attend. The class moves through the program together. Programs differ from taking traditional courses. The same courses are not offered each semester and they are not offered at different times.

Dental Assistants are a vital part of a dental team. They assist dentists and dental hygienists with examinations and treatments, ease patients' anxieties, perform administrative duties, schedule appointments, file insurance claims, and generate billing. Dental Assisting is a respectable profession and dentistry offers a plethora of different work environments. Dental Assistants can work with General Dentists, Orthodontists, Pediatric Dentists, Prosthodontists, Periodontists, and Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons in hospitals or dental clinics, private practices, dental schools, or public health services departments. Many choose the program as a stepping stone to a Dental Hygiene program or Dental School.

Career Definition
Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work. More information on the allowable duties of a Dental Assistant can be found here

Wages and Employment Trend

  • Median wages (2018) $18.59 hourly, $38,660 annual
  • Employment (2016) 332,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026) Much faster than average (15% +)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026) 45,900
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 wage data external site and 2016-2026 employment projections

Program Costs

NELDA exam cost $400
2 sets of Navy Blue Scrub Top, Pants and Jacket $100
Shoes: clean, white, grey, or black gym shoes with rubber soles (minimal coloring on the gym shoe is acceptable). Shoes must be closed-toe and back. Shoes must cover the tops of the foot. $30
Castlebranch compliance tracker: drug test & background check $105
Texts for all Dental Assisting courses $600
Physical Exam and Immunizations
** Cost for physical exam and immunization can vary considerably depending on healthcare coverage.

Semester 1 Costs

DA101 2 credit hours $498 in district  
DA103 4 credit hours $996 in district lab fee $75
DA104 4 credit hours $996 in district lab fee $75
DA298 2 credit hours $498 in district  
Total Tuition & Fees for Semester 1 $3670    

Semester 2 Costs

Registration Fee $10
2 General Education Courses 3 credit hours each $174 x 3 credit hours = $1044

4 Dental Assisting Courses $174+75 credit hour healthcare course surcharge

DA106 4 credit hours $996 in district lab fee $75
DA201 4 credit hours $996 in district lab fee $75
DA299 2 credit hours $498  
Total Tuition & Fees for Semester 2 $3544    
NOTE: Tuition and Fees are subject to change each year. Travel to/from clinical sites is at the student’s expense. Any additional immunizations or criminal background check requested by a clinical site is at the student’s expense.

 Admission Requirements for Dental Assisting Program

  1. If not already a Prairie State Student, complete the PSC college application 
  2. After completing the PSC college application, please participate in the on-demand Dental Assisting Program Informational Session. You can access this session by emailing Dawn Piper that you are interested in applying to the DA program.
  3. Job Shadow Requirement: Before applying, students must job shadow in a dental office of their choice for 8 hours total and provide a job shadow form signed by the dentist to admissions.
  4. Math Requirement: Successful completion of PSC’s MATH 091 or MATH 093 with a C or better; or PSC’s Assessment Exam placement score at Math 094 or higher.
  5. English Requirement: Successful completion of PSC’s ENG 099 with a C or better; or PSC’s Assessment Exam Placement Score at ENG 101 level.
  6. Submit an official high school transcript or high school equivalency transcript.

Upon completion of the above items, applicants are required to complete a program intent form available on the application portal. Students can access the portal on the Selective Admissions webpage. Transcripts and the program intent form deadline is June 1st. Priority is given to in- district students.

Upon Completion of the above items, applicants are required to complete a program intent form available on the dental assisting certificate program webpage or from an admissions advisor.

In order to be successful in the dental assisting certificate program, a student must have skills and abilities essential to perform the functions of a dental assistant in the dental field. Students applying to the dental assisting certificate program must be able to perform these skills and abilities upon admission to the program with or without reasonable accommodations.  A health care provider must verify the student’s ability to complete these skills and abilities. The Essential Skills and Abilities of a Dental Assistant are as follows: 

Physical Strength and Endurance

  • Stoop, bend, squat, reach overhead while maintaining balance 
  • Ability to push/pull and lift objects more than 50-100 pounds
  • Perform patient care for 8-12 hours; stand for prolonged periods of time

Motor Skills

  • Manual finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination
  • Physical abilities (including standing, walking, bending, range of motion of extremities) to move from room-to-room and maneuver in small spaces
  • Gross and fine motor function sufficient to manipulate instruments to provide safe and effective dental care
  • Tactile sensitivity sufficient for the use and control of small instruments

Communication Skills 

  • Abilities sufficient for effective interaction with others in spoken and written English
  • Ability to accurately transfer gathered data into a patient record
    Ability to read and understand technical and professional materials  
  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity, confidentiality and respect when speaking with patients, peers, faculty and staff

Sensory Capabilities, Hearing, and Visual Requirements

  •   Normal range hearing, either corrected or uncorrected, for functional use 
  • Normal or corrected visual acuity sufficient for observation of oral conditions and to determine changes in patient status through visual observation 
  • See differences between colors, shades, and brightness 
  • Ability to discern subtle changes in radiographic density and see in darkroom conditions 
  • Ability to clearly see the patient's teeth from a distance  

Intellectual, Conceptual and Cognitive Skills

  • Ability to concentrate on moderate to fine detail with frequent interruption
  • Ability to attend to multiple functions and patients often for an extended period of time
  • Critical thinking and problem solving ability sufficient for clinical judgement 
  • Ability to select and use technical principles, ideas, and theories in a problem-solving situation and adjust procedures accordingly
  • Ability to work independently and as a team

Professional Attitude and Demeanor

  • Ability to present professional appearance 
  • Ability to implement measures to maintain own physical and mental health and emotional stability 
  • Emotional and mental health necessary to effectively apply knowledge and exercise appropriate judgment 
  • Ability to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability 
  • Ability to practice honest and ethical behavior and accountability
  • Ability to self-evaluate
  • Ability to demonstrate respect for individuals of diverse ethnic, social, emotional and intellectual  backgrounds, religion and/or sexual orientation
  • Ability to conduct self in a professional manner at all times

Faculty Contact Information

Program Coordinator
Assistant Professor Dental Assisting

Elvina McHenry RDH
Adjunct Dental Assisting
Adjunct Clinical Dental Hygiene

Adjunct Dental Assisting

Carina Lowe
Pathways Advisor, Allied Health & Emergency Services