Dental Assistant

At a Glance

Years in School (after high school graduation):

2 years or less

Hourly Wage:

$15.88-$28.98 (Mean $21.82)
*based on 2016 Alaska DOL data

One-page Description (PDF):

Dental Assistant

Professional Activities

Dental assistants help dentists in a variety of tasks. They are often the first professional the patient comes into contact with in the dental clinic. Dental assistants prepare patients for examination and treatment. They are half of “four-handed” dentistry, helping the dentist in arranging and selecting instruments, preparing materials and equipment, taking and processing x-rays, providing instruction to patients, and keeping detailed and accurate records of patient care. Other duties may include applying decay-preventive material to the teeth, making impressions, and providing oral hygiene instructions.

In rural Alaska, dental assistants work wherever dentists practice. All dentists require one or more assistants. Most rural Alaskan dental assistants are employed in salaried positions with the Indian Health Service or regional health corporations. Others work in private practice as employees of dentists.

Educational Requirements

The American Dental Association (ADA) offers an accredited curriculum within dental schools, community colleges, vocational-technical schools, and private institutions. Most training sequences are similar:

  • Graduation from high school or a GED. Biology, English, and office skills are often desirable. Good grades make it easier to be accepted into dental assistant training.
  • Most dental assisting programs require a college entrance exam (ACT, SCAT, or SAT), and possibly the Nelson-Denny or Dental Assisting Aptitude Test (DAAT).
  • Dental assisting training programs are between nine months and two years in length and award either a vocational certificate or community college associate degree.

Academic Programs

Schools in Alaska:

University of Alaska Anchorage
School of Allied Health
Dental Assisting Program
3211 Providence Drive
Allied Health Sciences, Room 148
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-6933
Fax: (907) 786-6938

University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Community and Technical College
Dental Assisting Program-Allied Health Department
Jenifer Filotei, Program Coordinator
604 Barnette Street, Room 426
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: (907) 455-2891

Ilisagvik College also offers a non-certificate Dental Assistant Trainee Program. For more information, contact:
Amanda Siolofi
Allied Health Program Coordinator
Ilisagvik College
P.O. Box 749
Hut 58, Room 204
Barrow, Alaska 99723
Phone: 907-852-1730
Fax: 907-852-1739

Southcentral Foundation has a 16 week on-the-job Dental Assistant Training course in Anchorage. For more information, contact:
Southcentral Foundation
4501 Diplomacy Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 729-4977


State Contact:

Alaska Dental Society
9170 Jewel Lake Rd. Suite 100
Anchorage, AK 99502
Phone: (907) 563-3003

National Contact:

American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 440-2500

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