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Dental Assisting

Dental assistants greatly increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of quality oral health care and are valuable members of the dental care team.

Degree Description

Graduates of the diploma program will be highly trained dental assisting students who have the skills required to be competent members of a dental healthcare team, deliver quality dental healthcare to the public, and have the knowledge necessary to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) in the state of South Dakota. Dental assisting tasks include providing direct patient care, assisting during a variety of dental procedures, obtaining medical/dental histories, vital signs, dental radiographs, and impressions for dental models, teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies, applying preventive agents, placing pit and fissure sealants, developing, coordinating, and serving as an infection control officer, and performing office management tasks.

The Dental Assisting program is approved by the South Dakota Board of Dentistry. If you plan to practice outside of South Dakota, you are encouraged to check with the state licensing and certification requirements.

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Application Process

To gain acceptance into the WDT Dental Assisting program, applicants must:

1. Complete Western Dakota Tech Admissions Application
2. Provide an official copy of a High School transcript or GED scores. If you graduated from an international high school, you must submit your transcript to Educational Credential Evaluators to determine U.S. equivalence. Additionally, an official transcript must be submitted if you have attended other post-secondary institutions or universities.
3.   Submit immunization records verifying two doses of MMR vaccinations.
4. Submit official college transcripts if you have previously attended a post-secondary institution.
5.   Complete the ACCUPLACER test ($15.00 fee).

(The ACCUPLACER test will be waived if you have an ACT sub-score of 18 or better in English, Math, and Reading, or a SAT sub-score of at least 440 in Verbal and Math. The scores must be within the last five years.)

Please call 605-718-2565 to make an appointment.

To continue into Dental Assisting clinical, students must submit the following to:

Western Dakota Tech
Attn: Dental Assisting Instructor
800 Mickelson Dr.
Rapid City, SD 57703

1. Provide a copy of current American Heart Association Healthcare Provider AHA-CPR certification*
2. Provide a copy of immunization records (Hepatitis B Series)*

*Students are responsible for additional costs.

The program lead instructor will assist students with any clinical or internship site requirements.

Note: If you are or have been convicted, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or certain misdemeanors, you are advised that you may not be able to complete all course requirements for your chosen program, you may be prevented from taking required certification/licensure examinations in your chosen program field, and you may be prevented from gaining employment in your program field.

Students that sit out for a spring or fall semester or longer, will return under a new Catalog and may be required to repeat courses or successfully complete new or revised skills or competency assessments. Before readmittance, the program may need to determine if a student is eligible to continue in technical courses. Program sequencing and cohort size may prevent enrollment in technical courses.

Clinicals, practicums, and internships may include, but are not limited to, differential shifts (evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays) to meet industry expectations. This may require travel outside the Rapid City Area.

The Dental Assisting program is approved by the South Dakota Board of Dentistry.  Students are encouraged to check with the state licensing and certification requirements they plan to practice, if it is outside out South Dakota.

Download Application Process Checklist

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Career Description

The dental assistant may work in a private or group practice setting specializing in general dentistry, oral surgery, orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, or pedodontics. Dental sales and marketing of products is another career opportunity for the dental assistant. If you have strong communication skills, enjoy working with your hands as well as your mind, and want a career with responsibility, dental assisting is for you.

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Licensure and Certification

Professional licensure and certification requirements often vary from state to state. If you are not planning to locate and work in South Dakota and are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license or certification, it is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in the state you plan to work before beginning the academic program. If you need assistance locating a state licensing agency, please contact the Vice President for Teaching and Learning: or 605.718.2905.

Current as of June 8, 2020:

  1. The program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: AL, AZ, CO, ID, MO, NC, ND, NY, SD, VT, WA, WY
  2. The program curriculum does not meet educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, KY, MD, ME, MN, MT, NH, NJ, NM, OH, OK, OR, RI, VA
  3. WDT has not determined whether the program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: AK, American Samoa, DC, Guam, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA,MA, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, MI, The Federated States of Micronesia, MS, NE, The Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Island, NV, PA, The Republic of Palau, The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, SC, TN, TX, The Virgin Islands, UT, WI, WV 
CODA 2021 Visit to Western Dakota Tech
The Dental Assisting Program at Western Dakota Technical College will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit on Tuesday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 23, 2021 by a team representing the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

CODA is nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole agency to accredit dental and dental-related education programs conducted at the post-secondary level.


Third parties, including faculty, students, program administrators, specialty and dental-related organizations, patients, and consumers are invited to submit comments. Signed or unsigned comments will be accepted. Names and/or signatures will be removed from comments prior to forwarding them to the program. All comments must pertain only to the standards relative to the particular program(s) being reviewed, or policies and procedures used in the accreditation process. A copy of the accreditation standards and/or the commission’s policy on third-party comments may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, by calling 1-800-621-8099, ext. 4653 or at

Public comments must be received by Wednesday, April 21, 2021, and submitted to:

Commission on Dental Accreditation
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Or faxed to 312-587-5107

General Education EMT

After Earning Your Degree

In any given day, dental assistants can be found in the lab, office area, or treatment area. Assistants are trusted with patient information and medical records, taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays), taking impressions of patients' teeth and teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene strategies to maintain oral health.  In addition the dental assistant performs office management tasks that often require the use of a personal computer.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 mean annual wage is $37,070 - $39,960.

Meet Your Faculty

Western Dakota Tech has a low student-to-faculty ratio, meaning more one-on-one learning. Individual attention from your professor can make your college experience more fulfilling.

  • Chanin Hartnett

  • Diane Arhart

Financial Aid

Continuing your education is crucial and Western Dakota Tech wants to make sure that any student who wants to attend school, has the opportunity to do so. For this reason, WDT is dedicated to administering the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV Financial Assistance Program fair and consistently to anyone who needs it.

Build Dakota Scholarships

The Build Dakota Scholarship at Western Dakota Tech will pay all your tuition and fees and prepare you for a career that is in-demand and growing in South Dakota. Build Dakota Scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes to fill the state’s technical careers with skilled professionals.

Student Housing

While Western Dakota Tech does not offer on-campus housing, we understand that finding a place to live within town while you go to school can be difficult. We have a few resources to help prospective students find affordable housing.

Child Care

Finding child care during school is a challenge for many students. Western Dakota Tech currently does not offer on-campus child care, but here are some resources that may help you in your search.

Youth & Family Services is an organization dedicated to helping children in Western South Dakota. They offer a variety of services, including child care at multiple locations.

The Y of Rapid City offers child care and other services.

Disclaimer: Western Dakota Tech provides these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply affiliation, endorsement or adoption by Western Dakota Tech of any site or any information contained therein. When you leave, you should be aware that our terms and policies no longer govern. Western Dakota Tech makes no claim or representation regarding, and accepts no responsibility for, the quality, content, nature or reliability of third-party websites or vendors.

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