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Dental Assistant Program

Certificate program

Dental assistants work in private dental practices, dental clinics, or even for federal, state, or local government health agencies providing patient care and assisting with administrative tasks. It’s important to note that dental assistants are not the same as dental hygienists, whose responsibilities include advanced patient care tasks like polishing teeth; removing deposits, tartar, plaque, and stains; and developing X-rays. Dental assistants, on the other hand, include both patient-centric and administrative duties, like:

  • Greeting patients and getting them settled
  • Sterilizing instruments and preparing the equipment rooms for treatments and procedures
  • Assisting dentists during procedures
  • Instructing patients in proper oral hygiene
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Scheduling appointments and working with patients on insurance and payment

This is a people-oriented career that greatly increases the efficiency of the dental office when it comes to delivering quality oral healthcare. Dental assistants can also work under the direction of a dentist to set up and process X-rays, take impressions of patient's teeth, prepare materials for dental impressions or crowns, and other lab tasks. Some of the duties you may perform as a dental assistant are specifically outlined by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Average Class Size: 14

Benefit from the small class sizes and individualized attention that an NC education provides.

120 Years’ Experience

We have been part of the Chicagoland area for well over a century, helping students just like you to succeed.

Programs in Fast-Growing Careers

We design our certificate and degree programs to get you out of the classroom and into the workplace quickly.

Accredited Education

NC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds various programmatic accreditations.


"The faculty at Northwestern were amazing. Mrs. Nieves went above and beyond to truly help me throughout my program. Whenever I had an issue with an assignment she broke it down to me where it made sense to me. She always had an amazing way of making us understand the material we were learning about. During my time at Northwestern College I was diagnosed with some medical issues and was going to put my last semester on hold, with her help and other staff members I was able to complete my program on time. I am truly blessed to have an amazing teacher to help me along the way. She makes learning fun."

Lydia RoldanClass of 2021, Dental Assisting

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