The Dental Assistant program includes instruction and practical experience on how to use and care for dental equipment instruments, expose and process radiographs, record medical and dental information, assist with dental emergencies, perform basic office procedures, and maintain an inventory of supplies. Dental assistants are vital to the safe and efficient operation of the dental office, assisting the dentist in the treatment room, the lab, and with business administration.

  • Overview
  • Is This Program for You?

    Caring, organized, and compassionate individuals who work well in a team health care setting may find a rewarding career as a dental assistant. If you're interested in a career that focuses on helping people and offers plenty of variety in the workday, dental assisting is a great choice for you.

    Students entering the Dental Assistant program should:

    • Have ninth grade reading skills, basic math skills, and good verbal communication skills.
    • Be Employable
    • Desire to work with people.
    • Desire to work as a team member.

    Program Basics

    • One Semester technical diploma
    • This 16-week program includes 12 weeks of classroom and laboratory learning activities, followed by a 4-week externship in a dental clinic.
    • Classes run full-time Monday through Friday for 12 weeks.
    • The 4-week externship hours are based upon the dental clinic hours as assigned.
    • Must earn at least a grade of C in all classroom/laboratory learning settings to be eligible to work under the direct supervision of a dentist in a four-week externship.
  • Curriculum & Costs
  • Cost of Attendance (COA) 24-25

    Cost of Attendance (COA) is a total of all the usual expenses of being a student. The COA sets the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive.

    Category Amount
    Tuition and Fees $4,820
    Living Expenses (Housing and Food) $9,148
    Books and Supplies $1,466
    Personal Expenses $3,608
    Transportation $4,018
    Charger Tech 360 Fee $600
    Loan Fees $84
    Yearly Total (Living Away from Home) $23,744
    1 Semester Total (Living Away from Home) $11,872

    Based on Wisconsin Residents.

    Approximate school costs are for a full-time (12 credit) student over a semester span of 17 weeks.

    Fees are legislated by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.

    These costs are estimates and are subject to change without notice.

  • Requirements
  • Admission and Program Requirements

    • Submit Application
    • Submit High School Transcripts, College Transcripts, and Test Scores to: Southwest Tech (email, or mail to Attn: Admissions, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, WI 53809)
    • To make sure your classes are the right fit, we consider any previous college credit you've earned, Accuplacer or ACT scores, high school GPA, or an assessment at your registration session.

    Additional Health Requirements

    Prior to July 1st of your Fall semester, each student will need to complete and submit the Health Requirements listed below to be able to participate in their clinical rotation experience.

    If you are unable to access documents here, please contact Technical Skill Attainment Team (, 608.822.2464)

    Helpful Academic Background

    • Basic Education course in writing
    • Reading comprehension skills
    • Basic math skills

    Program Fees

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Estimated cost for each semester can be found under the Curriculum tab. Please note that costs are approximate and are based on the current academic year.
    • Please discuss additional fee questions with the program advisor or instructor.
  • Outcomes
  • Program Outcomes

    At the completion of the program, students are expected to be able to:

    • Collect diagnostic and treatment data.
    • Manage infection and hazard control.
    • Perform clinical supportive treatment.
    • Take diagnostic radiographs.
    • Perform dental laboratory procedures.
    • Provide patient oral health instructions.
    • Assist in managing medical emergencies.
    • Model professional behaviors, ethics and appearance.
    • Perform coronal polishing on patients.
  • Career Opportunities
  • This course provides a strong foundation in basic dental assisting. There are job openings for dental assistants in Southwest Wisconsin. More job opportunities are available for graduates willing to relocate to urban areas.

    • Receptionist: Works at the front desk and processes invoices, accounts, appointments, and greets patients
    • Chair-side Assistant: Assists the dentist with patient care
    • Hygiene Instructor: Instructs patients in proper hygiene and tooth care
    • Laboratory Assistant: Performs laboratory functions while observing safety
    • Hygiene Assistant: Assists the hygienist with tasks
    • Dental Sales Representative
    • Dental Treatment Coordinator

    Southwest Tech's Career Connections Center offers Services to assist students looking for job placement.

  • Transfers