Introducing: Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Career Diploma Program

While PCDI is no longer accepting enrollments in our Dental Assistant Program, we’re excited to introduce you to our partner school, Penn Foster.

PCDI Canada and Penn Foster Logos

If you're interested in becoming a Dental Assistant, Penn Foster’s online Dental Assistant Career Diploma Program can help you prepare for this career.


Take the Next Steps Towards a Career You'll Love

Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Career Diploma can help you prepare to take the next steps toward the job you want and get you ready to take the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam and the Infection Control Exam (ICE) from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Study foundational skills through flexible online courses you can do on your schedule.

Why Penn Foster?

Penn Foster has been on a mission to help people like you obtain skills and achieve their career goals for more than 130 years. We provide students with a quality education that fits their busy lifestyle and budget, offering over 100 self-paced, career-relevant programs across our College, Career School, and High School. Every course is designed to work with your schedule, anytime, anywhere you want to study. With a focus on relevant skills and career prep for the job you’re after, Penn Foster can help you graduate with confidence and help provide a guide towards your career goals.

What You'll Learn in Penn Foster’s Online Dental Assistant Career Diploma Program

  • How to prevent the spread of disease in a dental office.
  • Best ways to assist the dentist or hygienist.
  • Front office responsibilities like bookkeeping, appointment scheduling, billing, and more.
  • The goals of preventive dentistry and how to prevent cavities and oral diseases.

Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Curriculum

This program gives you the skills you need to start working in a dental office. Once you finish the course, you'll be able to take the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam and the Infection Control Exam (ICE) from the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Your online classes include:

  • Dental Terminology, Anatomy, and Charting
  • Preventative Dentistry and Ethics
  • Dental Medications and Materials
  • Dental Specialties
  • Dental Front Office
See Full Curriculum  

Learn More About the Penn Foster Experience

At Penn Foster, we think online learning can make a big difference in people's lives, and it should be available to everyone. That's why we've made our programs affordable and tailored to fit your needs. You can learn and improve your skills for the job you want, all at your own pace and on your own schedule.

Dental Assistant FAQs

How much does a dental assistant make an hour? 

While salary can vary based on experience, the state you live in, and your employer, the average hourly pay for dental assistants in the workforce in 2021 was $18.59 per hour, or $38,660 per year.*

What do dental assistants do? 

In a typical dental office, dental assistants are those who support dentists and dental hygienists. A dental assistant's daily tasks can vary and include both administrative work and patient support. On a regular day, dental assistants take a patient’s medical history, explain procedures, and assist dentists during procedures. As a dental assistant, you can also expect to be responsible for preparing treatment rooms, including sterilizing medical equipment and tools and preparing patients for x-rays.

What does it take to become a dental assistant? 

Becoming a dental assistant often requires specific education and training. Depending on your state's regulations, you may also be required to pass a licensing or certification exam. Once you’re hired at an office, you may also complete a period of hands-on training under the supervision of an office manager or experienced dental assistant.

How long does it take to complete a Dental Assistant Program Online? 

Many traditional dental assistant training programs can take up to one year to complete, but with Penn Foster’s self-paced online coursework, you can prepare to take the next step toward a career around your schedule and on the timeline that works for you. This course can help you prepare for industry certification exams, such as the National Entry Level Dental Assistant.

Do I need to be certified to become a dental assistant? 

Certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state. You can find state-specific requirements via the Dental Assisting National Board website. Penn Foster’s Dental Assistant Program will prepare you to sit for the three exams needed for full NELDA (National Entry Level Dental Assistant) certification from DANB: the Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam, the Infection Control Exam (ICE), and the Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP) exam. Because our program is accredited by the DEAC, Penn Foster learners can sit for NELDA certification without needing 300 hours of dental assisting work experience.


*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Dental Assistants." Accessed October 3, 2023.

Statements found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used to create the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.

What is Penn Foster?

PCDI is part of the Penn Foster Network. Penn Foster, PCDI’s partner school, has been a leading provider of distance education and online, career-focused training programs for over 130 years. Like PCDI, Penn Foster’s programs are affordable, fully online, and self-paced, allowing you to build skills and prepare for the job you want on your terms.