Dental Assistant Training 

The UK College of Dentistry (UKCD) offers a unique 6-month Dental Assistant Training, with optional Expanded Duties education, for individuals interested in the dental field. Dental Assistants play a vital part of a successful dental team, supporting patient care efforts, and performing office and laboratory functions. According to the US Department of Labor, employment for dental assistants is projected to grow much faster than many other occupations in the coming years. 

Training Highlights

  • Hands-on experience and exposure to UKCD Clinics: Approximately 70% of your time will be spent in a dental clinic assisting with procedures, working side-by-side UKCD dental students, clinical faculty, and staff.
  • Optional Expanded Duties assistant training, coinciding with the 6-month Dental Assistant Training.
  • Complete hundreds of hours of real clinic experience in only six months.
  • Added value: Training tuition includes the Kentucky State Board of Dentistry recognized certification in Basic Life Support (CPR), Coronal Polishing, and Radiation Safety. 
  • Find the area of dentistry you like best as you gain experience in the various clinics, including General Dentistry, Orthodontics, Periodontics, and Oral Surgery.
  • Gain experience in Radiology technique and Sterilization. 

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Important Dates​​​​​​

  • Fall Session: Starting August 17, 2020-January 29, 2021
  • Spring Session: Tentatively starting Feb. 1, 2021-July 23, 2021 - Application deadline: January 15, 2021


UKCD offers a 6-month Dental Assistant Training. The training consists of in-person lectures, pre-clinical courses, and clinical experiences in the college's DMD Student Clinic as well as the UKCD clinics of General Dentistry, Orthodontics, Periodontics, and Oral Surgery. Participants will work with UKCD professors and staff responsible for training current UKCD dental students. 
Dental Assistant Training participants will complete a wide array of experiences in the DMD Student Clinic, learning side-by-side with dental students. Included in the training, at no additional cost, will be Basic Life Support, Kentucky Board of Dentistry Approved Radiation Safety Certification, Coronal Polishing Certification, and Expanded Duties Certification (if a student elects to complete this optional training). These courses will increase a Dental Assistant's value to a potential employer.

Expanded Duties Training (Optional) 

The Expanded Duties add-on includes additional training that allows an assistant to do more clinically than a chairside dental assistant. For example, dental assistants with expanded duties training can place a rubber dam, place restorations, fabricate provisional crowns and sealants, etc. The expanded duties option can be added for an additional $1,195 (bringing total tuition to $7,195). Expanded Duties training will coincide with the 6-month Dental Assistant Training, taking place two afternoons a week from 1–4 pm, in addition to the 8:30 am-12 pm morning course, on select days approximately six to eight weeks after Dental Assistant Training begins. 

Curriculum Overview & Schedule

The Dental Assistant Training will include:
  • 70 percent direct clinical experience
  • 10 percent didactic (lecture)
  • 20 percent pre-clinical 
Participants are expected to be in class/clinic from 8:30 am to 12 pm, Monday through Friday for the duration of the six months. Students will follow the UK College of Dentistry calendar as far as official holidays.
Participants completing the optional Expanded Duties offering will stay from 1–4 pm on select days twice per week during the six months. 

Tuition & Training Expenses

  • Application Fee: $25 (nonrefundable) 
  • Tuition: $6,000. A down payment of $1,000 will be required if not paying in full prior to the first day of class. Tuition must be paid in full by the end of the semester. 

Optional parking permit for UK student parking and background check fees are not included in tuition. 

Please call 859-257-1317 for more information. 

Admission Requirements

  • Application fee: $25 (nonrefundable)
  • Tuition: $6,000. A down payment of $1,000 will be required if no paying in full before the first day of class. Tuition must be paid in full by the semester.
  • The optional Expanded Duties training is an additional fee of $1,195.
  • Fees for an optional parking permit for UK Student parking and background check are not included in the tuition.


What is the duration of the training? Six (6) months, part-time.

When does the training start and end? There are two (2) sessions per year. Please see application deadlines and session start/end dates in the "Important Dates" section above. 

What are the requirements for acceptance into the training? A minimum of high school diploma or GED is required. All accepted participants must pass clinical screening/technical standards (including a background and immunization check) based on UK Healthcare standards before entering a live dental clinic. 

Where are the courses and clinics held? All courses and clinics will be at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry facilities, with the option of additional dental clinics being added to rotations.

What is the cost of the training? The cost is $6,000, which includes tuition and course fees for Basic Life Support Kentucky and Board approved Radiation and Coronal Polishing. An optional Expanded Duties offering may be added for an additional fee of $1,195.

Is there any need for additional equipment or books? Medical scrubs and appropriate footwear (not provided) will be required for students when in any of the clinics. Any additional materials (books, computer access on campus, protective eyewear, and all needed equipment and supplies) will be provided at no additional cost.

Are there any other fees associated with the training? UK requires a background check and drug screening for anyone who will be a student at the College of Dentistry. Fees for these items are not included in the tuition. Parking passes are available at an additional cost. A nonrefundable application fee of $25 is also required. 

Is financial aid or financing available? Financial aid is not available through UK. 

Are there refunds if I cannot complete the training? No refunds are granted.

What will I learn in this training? Participants will learn the skills of chairside dental assisting in many aspects of dentistry, 4-handed dentistry (working with a dentist chairside), fundamental business aspects of dentistry, basic dental clinic management, and patient communication. Participants who elect to take the optional Expanded Duties offering will learn additional clinical practices such as placing a rubber dam, placing restorations, and fabricating provisional crowns and sealants.

What topics will be covered in the lecture courses? Examples of classes are basic head and neck anatomy and physiology, dental terminology, infection control, HIPAA guidelines, and patient communication. 

What is the trainings’ daily schedule? Participants will be expected to be in class 8:30 am to 12 pm, Monday through Friday, for the duration of the six months. Students will follow the UK College of Dentistry calendar of official holidays. Participants completing the optional Expanded Duties offering will stay from 1–4 pm on select days twice per week during the six months.

How will I be evaluated? There will be written and hands-on exams. All courses must be completed with a Pass grade to complete the training.

Will I need any other education to be a dental assistant following this training? Upon successful completion of the training, participants may also wish to complete UKCD's Expanded Duties Program in order to perform restorative procedures. The two-year minimum dental assistant work experience requirement will be waived for UKCD Dental Assistant Training participants.  

Do I need to complete a dental assisting training? Requirements for licensing and/or certification for dental assistants vary by state. Contact the state licensing board, or similar body, in the state you wish to work to determine requirements. See Kentucky's details

What is provided upon successful completion of the training? This training is provided through the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Office of Continuing Education. The training offers participants Kentucky Board of Dentistry Approved Radiation Safety Certification and Coronal Polishing Certification, Expanded Duties Certification (if that portion was completed) as well as significant hands-on experience in a high-paced dental environment. Training does not provide CE hours or other credentials. 

Is this training accredited? The training is not accredited. 


More Information/Contact

Jennifer McDonald, EDDA, Dental Assistant Instructor 

Meagan Castro, Continuing Education Support Staff: 859-323-8155

Kenneth Nusbacher, DMD, Director of Dental Assistant Training


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