Skip to main content



Dental Assisting

The diploma program is a three semester program. A cohort of twelve students is chosen. It is a full-time program offered only during the day. The program consists of three general education courses and ten dental courses. Upon completion, the students are a Dental Assistant I's and can start working in a dental office. The weekly schedule varies from semester to semester. It is usually four full days with one day off each week but the day off could vary. The online portion is minimal due to the need for hands-on practice and exposure in the dental assisting profession. The program has a strict COVID protocol for students are face-to-face most of the time.

General admission requirements for the college must be completed by the deadline date.

  • Complete the online application process (including residency determination) to Isothermal Community College. (Isothermal Community College link for Admissions) Use major code A55280D - General Occupational Technology-Dental.
  • Submit all official high school equivalency transcript to the Admissions Office.
  • Official college transcript(s) may be submitted to the Admissions Office for transfer credit evaluation. Transfer credit may be awarded for courses that reflect a grade of "C" or better.
  • Applicants with a high school graduation date or placement assessment scores older than ten years should prepare to take the placement assessment.

The DA program admission requirements must be completed by the deadline date.

  • To meet requirements for Dental Assisting Admissions, applicants must earn a mastery on Tier 1 on the the math portion of the RISE (Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence) placement assessment OR, a grade of (P1) for MAT 003, OR earn a grade of "C" or better in MAT 143 or higher-level math course.
  • To meet requirements for Dental Assisting program, applicants must earn a mastery level or Tier 2 on the English portion of the RISE (Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence) placement assessment OR a grade of (P2) for ENG 002 OR complete a college-level English course with a grade of “C” or better.
  • Minimum required cumulative average GPA is 2.0 for college and high school students.



Student’s exposures to pathogens and infectious diseases

Students will be exposed to bloodborne pathogens and other infectious diseases in this program. Infection control is mandatory before working with patients and all precautions must be taken to minimize exposure. Failure to follow proper infection protocols and procedures could lead to dismissal from the program. 

General Education (non-dental assisting) courses

Students are encouraged to take the required general education (non-dental assisting) courses before entry into the Dental Assisting program:

  • ENG 111 Writing & Inquiry
  • COM 231 Public Speaking
  • BIO 110 Principles of Biology
  • *BIO 111, 168, 163 can be substituted for BIO 110 in the Program of Study and points.

PSB Exam (Optional)

The PSB exam information will be sent to the students by the Advisor.


To ensure measures of access, applicants have the option to taking the Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) exam to attempt to counterbalance a low GPA.

  • Note that the PSB exam is OPTIONAL. This means is it NOT required to be accepted into the program.
  • Students will gain points based upon the score they achieve to use towards the point system total.
  • Students may choose to take the PSB exam. If students choose to take the PSB exam, email Tina Porter at or call 828-395-1621 for information on the set test date & time that is available.
  • Students must complete the registration process within 24 hours before the test date & payment will be due at the time of the exam.
  • The cost is approximately $70.00.

The PSB includes five sections of Academic Aptitude, Spelling, Reading Comprehension, Natural Sciences, and Vocational Adjustment.

Information on PSB, as well as exam preparation, may be found at and you may purchase a study manual at amazon (health-occupational-Secret –Study-Guide)

Other important information

  • Criminal background checks and drug screenings will be required by clinical sites for students admitted to the Dental Assisting program. Failure to achieve acceptable standards will result in the denial of clinical privileges and the inability to continue in the Dental Assisting program.
  • The flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines are required by MAHEC (Mountain Area Health Education Center), our clinical facility. 

While the above background, drug screening, and vaccine information are not required by Isothermal Community College for either general college admission or entrance into the Dental Assisting Program, students should be aware that this information will be required by the personnel department at the students' future clinical location. Failure to provide this information to a clinical site in a timely fashion could result in a cancellation of your clinical site arrangements.

Personal health insurance is the responsibility of the student. Neither the college of the application nor clinical agencies provide health coverage for the students. Any illness or injury incurred during class, lab, or clinical during the program will be the financial responsibility of the individual student. Supplemental accident insurance through the college is available to DA students in the event of an accident while performing functions in the college or clinical settings.

Classes will be held at Polk campus (Polk Center, 1255 West Mill Street, Columbus, NC 28722) and the lab/clinical location will be at the MAHEC Building, 130 Forest Glen Road, Columbus, NC 28722). Students are responsible for arranging their transportation. Clinical locations will vary depending on the host location as chosen by the Dental Assisting Director.