May 22, 2022  
2012-2013 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2012-2013 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Dental Assisting Certificate

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Program: Certificate in Dental Assisting
Department of Dental Education
College of Health and Human Services

Neff Hall Room 150 ~ 260-481-6837 ~

The Certificate in Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation, 211 E Chicago Ave # 780, Chicago, IL 60611-6983,
telephone (312) 440-2500,

The student learning outcomes for the Dental Assisting Certificate are as follows:

  • Demonstrate the breadth and depth of knowledge in basic sciences, social sciences, and clinical practice to deliver comprehensive care to patients in the practice of dentistry.
  • Demonstrate and incorporate problem-solving skills in critical thinking, interpretation, reasoning, questioning, and decision-making.
  • Demonstrate competence in assessing, evaluating, planning, and treating oral conditions and diseases.
  • Demonstrate effective written, oral, and multimedia skills to communicate effectively in diverse settings.
  • Interpret, evaluate, and synthesize current scientific dental research and apply evidence-based reasoning skills.
  • Comprehend and demonstrate current technology in the practice of dentistry, as it is constantly changing.
  • Demonstrate the highest levels of ethical behavior, personal integrity, and professional ethics in the practice of dentistry and the patients that are under their care.
  • Assume a leadership and collaborative role in the advancement of the dental profession through local, regional, national, and international communities and professional organizations.
  • Demonstrate and apply the skills for life-long learning and professional development.

The Dental Assisting Program curriculum includes didactic, laboratory, and clinical courses with at least one semester of prerequisite courses and one year of professional dental assisting courses. Students are designated as pre-dental assisting students prior to admission to the program. The professional curriculum is a structured, full-time program beginning each fall semester. The curriculum prepares students for a career as a dental health professional. A student may choose to specialize in any of the following areas of dentistry: chairside general dentistry, expanded functions dental assisting (restorative) in general or pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery, periodontics, assist in dental surgery at area hospitals, endodontics, public health dentistry, dental sales, dental insurance, dental research, business assisting or office management, or clinical supervision. Graduates are eligible to take the national boards to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) and take the state boards to obtain a dental radiology license in the State of Indiana. 

Application to the Program

Applicants must make an appointment with a dental assisting advisor to discuss the program and receive current information regarding admission, prerequisite requirements, and possible degree completion options. To make an appointment with your advisor, log onto the dental education website click on advisors and follow the instructions to find your academic advisor.

In order to apply to the Dental Assisting Program a student must:

  • Complete prerequisite courses or equivalent courses at another accredited college or university by May 18 for entry the fall semester of that year. Prerequisite courses may not be graded on a pass/not-pass option.
  • Submit a dental assisting application with two separate dental office observation forms no later than March 1 for entry to the fall semester of that year. Admission to IPFW does not confer admission to this program. To be admitted to the certificate program students must apply separately to IPFW and the dental assisting program. See the Department of Dental Education for the dental assisting application and dental office observation forms.

Because space in the dental assisting program is limited to 24 students per year, admission is competitive.

The number of eligible applicants each year exceeds the number of spaces available.

Class Selection Process

Acceptance into the Dental Assisting Program is based on the following: 

  • Applicants must have a minimum prerequisite grade-point average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in the 12 hours of pre-dental assisting curriculum. The GPA is calculated on only the 12 hours of prerequisite courses. Applicants are ranked based on this GPA.  A minimum GPA does not guarantee admission. The actual GPA necessary for admission varies with the GPA distribution of the applicant pool.
  • All transfer grades will be reviewed and evaluated in the admission process. Remedial or developmental courses (ENG R150, R151, R152, P131, W130, or MA 109) cannot be used to fulfill these prerequisite requirements.
  • First-priority consideration for program admission will be given to students who have completed at least one pre-dental assisting course at IPFW or at other Purdue University or Indiana University campuses.
  • Number of Preferred Admissions courses successfully completed (with a “C-” or better).
  • Should a tie in applicants’ GPAs occur, rank ordering will be based upon the applicants’ cumulative GPA.
  • Applicants must meet the application and observation forms deadline of March 1.
  • Applicants must return the acceptance form by the deadline stated in the acceptance letter.
  • Applicants who have not been accepted, but who are qualified, may reapply for admission.
  • Applicants must demonstrate meeting the College of Health and Human Services Technical Standards.
  • Students must submit evidence that they have completed the following before classes begin fall semester:

    • a recent physical examination (the summer before the program begins)
    • a recent TB testing (the summer before the program begins)
    • received the three Hepatitis B immunizations (before the program begins) and a Hepatitis B titer (blood test)
    • has a current CPR certification at the healthcare-provider level or professional level from a DANB-approved CPR provider
    • submitted proof of payment for their Purdue Professional Liability Insurance coverage. Purdue professional liability insurance is not valid unless it has been paid.
    •  apply to the Indiana State Department of Health for a Radiology Permit. Students will be given the permit application at July orientation.
    • complete a criminal background check. Students will receive online instructions at July orientation.
    • Students who have been accepted to the program will receive a program manual at summer orientation that must be read before they start the program.
  • Applicants who have served in the military must submit an official military transcript to receive transfer credit, if applicable.
  • Students in the professional dental programs must pass a drug screening test, if requested.

Admission Policies

Reapplying.  Students who have not been accepted, but who are qualified, may reapply for admission. Students who decline admission two times will no longer be considered.

Academic Renewal.   Students who are returning to IPFW after five years or more are eligible for the Academic Renewal Option.  The Academic Renewal Option must be exercised during a student’s first semester back at IPFW, regardless of when the student applies for admission to the Dental Assisting Program. The Program’s admission committee will recognize IPFW’s Academic Renewal Option when reviewing an applicant for admission.

Criteria for Dismissal from the Dental Assisting Program

·       If a student is dismissed for failure to meet academic, ethical or professional standards, policies and procedures established by the university must be followed. See Part 8 of the bulletin.

·       The College of Health and Human Services Student Appeals Policy and forms can be found at

Special Academic Regulations for Students in the Department of Dental Education

Tattoos and Head and Neck Piercings

The dental profession is extremely conservative. Tattoos and head and neck piercings are not considered acceptable in the health science professions. If students have tattoos, they must be covered by clothing. If they cannot be covered by clothing, students are required to cover tattoos with bandages. All head and neck piercings must be removed, including plugs.


Because of the experiential learning process used in all dental assisting courses, attendance is essential and mandatory. Some evening hours are required for additional clinical experiences and professional association meetings.Transportation to and from classes and clinicals are the responsibility of the students.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Prerequisite and preferred admission courses must be completed by May 18 for admission into the class that begins each fall.
  • A minimum prerequisite GPA of 2.5 and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for all applicants.
  • A student may make two graded attempts at a prerequisite course, with the most recent grade calculated in the pre-dental assisting prerequisite GPA. The student’s two attempts will include any graded attempt, whether or not eliminated from the student’s grade point average by grade replacement (including other universities).  Repeated courses will not be averaged.
  • To apply for the Dental Assisting Certificate program, you must complete the following prerequisite courses by May 18 and receive a grade of C- or better.

You must complete the following prerequisite courses: (12 credits)   


Total Credits: 12-21

Total Credits: 46-53

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