Dental Assistant

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The Dental Assistant program at Pittsburgh Career Institute (PCI) is designed to prepare students to assist in a variety of dental office situations.

Students  in the Dental Assistant training program will be exposed to dental laboratory and office administration procedures. The core curriculum is structured to include a lecture component, a laboratory component, and a clinical component. The final externship portion of the curriculum consists of supervised experiences in a clinical environment, which requires competencies, logs, and evaluations to be completed by the student.

At the conclusion of the 10-month program, graduates who have diligently studied and attended class, completed their externship, and practiced their skills can earn a diploma and should be prepared to seek entry-level employment as dental assistants.

Concepts & Skills Taught
  • Dental anatomy
  • Pathology and terminology
  • Dental instruments and materials
  • Radiography concepts
  • Chair-side assisting techniques
Career Outcomes
  • Dental practices
  • Clinics


A dental assisting role your duties might vary by practice. Generally speaking, you’ll be tackling administrative duties and patient prep no matter where you’re employed, but other responsibilities may vary. Typically, someone in a dental assisting role takes care of the following:

  • Maintaining patient records
  • Prepping patients for procedures
  • Assisting dentists during procedures by handling instruments
  • Sterilizing dental instruments
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Instructing patients on dental health and hygiene
  • Completing basic lab tasks


Most dental assistants who choose to become nationally certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). The Radiation Health and Safety Exam is an additional certification opportunity.


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Dental Assistant Graduate Success Story: Davon

"I chose PCI because it was more than a school to me; it was like a home away from home"

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