Dental Assistant

In Demand

Dental Assistant Program Online

If you're interested in pursuing a career where you can help others, studying in a dental assistant program can help you prepare to take the first steps on your dental assistant career path. Penn Foster's Dental Assistant Program can help you earn the skills needed at your pace and on your time.

  • Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Program helps you prepare to sit for the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam and the Infection Control Exam (ICE) from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
  • Study foundational skills in dental procedures, dental medications, and more.
  • Dental assistant jobs are expected to increase 7% — faster than the average job growth rate — over the next few years.*
  • Our online programs are flexible enough for you to finish them at a pace that works for you, based on how much time you can dedicate to your coursework each week.
Self Paced

Save up to $190 Ends 6/25/2024

Cost of Program


$989 Save $190


$59/month, Start for as low as $20

1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

What You Will Learn

  1. Best practices and procedures for preventing disease transmission in a dental office.
  2. Procedures used when assisting a dentist and/or dental hygienist.
  3. Front office responsibilities, including bookkeeping, record keeping, scheduling, billing, and more.
  4. The goals of preventative dentistry and the relationship between nutrition and dental caries..
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Dental Assistant Career Outlook

Dental Assistant







Penn Foster's Dental Assistant Program is designed to help you prepare for an entry-level role as a dental assistant working in dental offices. With mobile-friendly coursework, virtual simulations, informative videos, and personal coaches to help you succeed, Penn Foster helps put you on track to pursue your career goals.

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in the dental assistant field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this program. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information. Please review your state board requirements that are specific to your field of study.  State boards may impose a variety of different requirements for dental assistant programs.  Penn Foster has determined that the curriculum does not meet the educational requirements for licensure or certification in the following states:  California and Florida.

Dental Assistant Program Online Curriculum

  • 10 courses
  • 27.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 16 exams

Estimated completion time:

  • Fast track = 3 months
  • Average time = 7 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from May 2021 - April 2022, excluding withdrawals.

In the online dental assistant program, you'll study to gain foundational skills and knowledge needed to support dentists and dental hygienists in a dental office. Your courses include:

  • Dental Terminology, Anatomy, and Charting
  • Preventative Dentistry and Ethics
  • Dental Medications and Materials
  • Dental Specialties
  • Dental Front Office


Non-US residents: This is a United States-based institution with course materials that are geared toward US job and labor standards. Learners from outside of the US may find that some information and materials will differ from the current standards of their country. Please note, the materials for this program are in English and use the Imperial unit of measurement, not the metric system.

Show Full Curriculum

Dental Assistant Program Student Stories

Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Program helps students prepare for the next step in their dentistry career path. This program has helped recent graduates learn at their own pace, find new jobs, and qualify for promotions. Learn more about their experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them.
View Student Success Stories
quote icon

Kamrin A.

Penn Foster Graduate, 2023

“The convenience of doing what you can, when you can allowed me to have the freedom to work while taking classes.”

Looking for healthcare training for your workers?

Penn Foster’s online Dental Assistant Training can prepare current employees and train new ones to be effective and efficient dental assistants.
Learn More

Online Dental Assistant Program Tuition

Take the first steps towards a career helping others with our Dental Assistant Program. Penn Foster offers customized payment plans, so simply choose from one of our options below to get started today!

Option 1: Pay in full

Save up to $190 Ends 6/25/2024

Cost of Program


$989 Save $190

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

Cost of Program


  • Pay $59 per month
  • Start for $20 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

cost of program


  • Pay $59 per month
  • Start for $39 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-471-3232 (9AM - 9PM ET)

Request Info

Our Proven Healthcare Learning Model

Empowering students to reach their professional goals


  • No set start date
  • No exam due dates
  • Study on the go


  • Virtual simulations
  • Informative videos
  • Progress-tracking tools


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Dental assistant student community
  • Hands-on training option


  • Dedicated student services team
  • Instructors are a call or email away
  • Connect real-time with student peers

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Dental Assistant Program FAQs

How much does a dental assistant make an hour?

While salary can vary based on experience, the state you live in, and your employer, the average hourly pay for dental assistants in the workforce in 2021 was $18.59 per hour, or $38,660 per year.*

What do dental assistants do?

In a typical dental office, dental assistants are those who support dentists and dental hygienists. A dental assistant's daily tasks can vary and include both administrative work and patient support. On a regular day, dental assistants take a patient’s medical history, explain procedures, and assist dentists during procedures. As a dental assistant, you can also expect to be responsible for preparing treatment rooms, including sterilizing medical equipment and tools and preparing patients for x-rays.

What does it take to become a dental assistant

Becoming a dental assistant often requires specific education and training. Depending on your state's regulations, you may also be required to pass a licensing or certification exam. Once you’re hired at an office, you may also complete a period of hands-on training under the supervision of an office manager or experienced dental assistant..

How long does it take to complete a Dental Assistant Program Online?

Many traditional dental assistant training programs can take up to one year to complete, but with Penn Foster’s self-paced online coursework, you can prepare to take the next step toward a career around your schedule and on the timeline that works for you. This course can help you prepare for industry certification exams, such as the National Entry Level Dental Assistant.

Do I need to be certified to become a dental assistant?

Certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, you can find state-specific requirements via the Dental Assisting National Board website. Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Program will prepare you to sit for the three exams needed for full NELDA (National Entry Level Dental Assistant) certification from DANB: the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, the Infection Control Exam (ICE), and the Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP) exam. Because our program is accredited by the DEAC, Penn Foster learners can sit for NELDA certification without needing 300 hours of dental assisting work experience.