Dental Assistant Training 

The UK College of Dentistry (UKCD) offers a unique 6-month Dental Assistant Training, including Expanded Duties education, for individuals interested in a career in dentistry. Dental Assistants play a vital part of a successful dental team, supporting patient care efforts, and performing office and laboratory functions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow seven percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations. About 55,100 openings for dental assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. 

Training Highlights

  • Hands-on experience and exposure to UKCD Clinics: Approximately 70 percent of your time will be spent in a dental clinic assisting with procedures, working side-by-side UKCD dental students, clinical faculty, and staff.
  • Expanded Duties (EDDA) training coincides with 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, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, Periodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, and Urgent Care.
  • Gain experience in Radiology technique and Sterilization. 

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Important Dates​​​​​​

  • Class Full - Fall 2024
  • Spring 2025: January 6, 2025-June 20, 2025 - Deadline to Apply: November 25, 2024
  • Fall 2025: June 23, 2025-December 5, 2025 - Deadline to Apply: May 23, 2025


UKCD offers a 6-month Dental Assistant Training/EDDA 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, Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Urgent Care. 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 (EDDA) Certificate*.
*Kentucky offers an EDDA certificate, not certification.

Expanded Duties Training

The Expanded Duties (EDDA) training is advanced asisistant training included in the course. It 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 pack retraction cord, and sealants, etc. This section of the training begins at week 18 and lasts for two weeks. Following, participants will have rotations through specialty clinics until graduation. 

Curriculum Overview & Schedule

The Dental Assistant Training will include:
  • 70 percent direct clinical experience
  • 15 percent didactic (lecture)
  • 15 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, except for Wednesday and Fridays during EDDA training, during which time participants will be present for the full day. Students will follow the UK College of Dentistry calendar as far as official holidays.

Tuition & Training Expenses

  • Application Fee: $25 (nonrefundable) 
  • Tuition: $7,195. 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. 

Admission Requirements

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.


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 specialty dental clinic rotations.

What is the cost of the training? The cost is $7,195, which includes tuition and course fees for Basic Life Support, Kentucky Board approved Radiation and Coronal Polishing, and Expanded Duties Training. 

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, 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. However, upon acceptance to the training, participants will receive information on possible financing options for non-degree seeking students. 

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),  coronal polishing, fundamental business aspects of dentistry, basic dental clinic management, and patient communication. During EDDA training, participants 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 daily schedule? Participants will be expected to be in class or clinic from 8:30 am to 12 pm, Monday through Friday, for the duration of the six months. For EDDA training, starting at week 18 and lasting for two weeks, students will be present for full days on Wednesday and Friday to complete required training hours to receive a Kentucky Board of Dentistry EDDA certificate. Students will follow the UK College of Dentistry calendar of official holidays. 

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? Additional training is not needed for general dentistry. However, continuing education courses for IV sedation and advanced training for surgical assistants may be required if seeking employment in select specialty clinics.

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, and an Expanded Duties (EDDA) certificate. 

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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