The Dental Assistant Professional Diploma Program is designed to provide you with the skills, technical knowledge, and clinical experience that are essential for you to become an effective member of the dental healthcare profession.
The curriculum provides the education needed by dental assistants who, as members of the dental health team, can assume responsibility for providing patient care in collaboration with other healthcare providers and in accordance with provincial regulations within the scope of practice of dental assistants in their province of registration and employment.
Columbia’s Dental Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada.
Full-Time Day Program
- An accelerated program! Finish quickly and be out earning a salary!
- 2 start dates every year.
- Class sizes are limited to 40 students.
- 31 week program of intensive training and education with classroom learning integrated into a dental clinic setting
- Students attend classes at the Columbia College Campus for the first 27 weeks and complete their Practicum during the final 4 weeks in a General Dental Practice.
- Students attend classes mostly ½ days, to permit time for *pre-class/ clinic learning.
- Clinics/Labs are delivered in 2 shifts. (AM and PM shifts alternate for all students every other week- varying from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.)
- Final Examinations are scheduled Saturday mornings.
- Facilitator to student ratio in clinic is typically 1:6.
- Students coordinate their own Practicum which often leads to employment.
- The College provides career and employment support.
- Students in this program require a personal computer and the internet in order to:
- Complete Daily Tests delivered through the Learning Portal Moodle.
- A personal laptop is required on campus during the final 30 minutes of each class, and for all dental computer software classes.
- Access required course materials and complete assignments posted on our “Moodle” learning platform.
- Access required course materials available online through the publisher of the Textbook (Evolve).
- Preview clinical demonstration videos posted on the Columbia College Learning Portal as a required part of their pre-clinic learning.
- Conduct research, develop, and print documents for various assignments and presentations.
- Complete Daily Tests delivered through the Learning Portal Moodle.
*In our Mastery Learning model, students need to be prepared to spend between 4-6 hours before each class completing pre-class learning activities.
Columbia College Dental Assistant Professional Diploma Program is excited to offer the theory portion of the Ortho Module to students in the DAPP who are in good academic standing in each Semester. The clinical portion of the Ortho Module is offered once they have successfully written the NDAEB exam and become a Registered Dental Assistant
For a full list of courses and course descriptions for this program, please click here.
Our Mastery Learning model is unique!
Since our program is delivered in semesters and courses in each semester are prerequisites for the next semester, each student’s academic progress is closely monitored to identify students who may be at-risk and to help them get the Mastery Learning tutorial help they need right away, so that they may become successful.
This program is the only Dental Assistant program that we know of in North America that follows a Mastery Learning model.
Students engaged in this Mastery Learning accelerated program must be prepared for classes and clinics that are delivered using a learner centered delivery model in which students are responsible for their own learning.
In this Mastery Learning model, students need to be prepared to spend between 4-6 hours before each class completing pre-class learning activities.
Mastery Learning in a Nutshell
Students who do not perform at the Mastery Learning Level on tests, exams and/or re-evaluations are required to attend Mastery Learning Tutorials. During these tutorials, students will spend their time reviewing those areas of knowledge and/or skills they need to improve. They may work on their own, with other students, and where needed with a faculty tutor.
Columbia College’s tuition and general fees come into effect August 1 of each year.
For more information about tuition and the Columbia College Tuition chart, please see the Tuition and Fees page.
Students are responsible for purchasing the following for this program.
Required for the Program:
- Laptop computer
- Uniforms/scrubs and duty shoes
- Protective eyewear
- CPR Level BLS
- Dental Exam + Treatment if required (cleaning, filling, etc.)
Post Graduate Requirements:
- CADA (College of Alberta Dental Assistants) Provisional Registration fees: please refer to https://abrda.ca/
- NDAEB (National Dental Assisting Examination Board) Exam: please refer to https://ndaeb.ca/
Refund of Tuition Fees
Please refer to the Student Contract of Tuition form for details of tuition refund policy. This form is available from this program’s Student Admission Advisor.
To graduate from the Dental Assistant Professional Diploma Program, students must:
- Earn 51 credits by achieving a passing grade in all 13 courses,
- Achieve an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher (equivalent to a B or 75-79% average),
- Demonstrate basic competency in all clinical/laboratory and patient care skills and,
- Successfully complete the practicum portion of the Program.
Tutoring is available for students. If you require tutoring, please contact your Program Chair or Coordinator.
Registration with the CADA is mandatory for anyone wishing to practice the profession of dental assisting in Alberta.
As a graduate of the Columbia College Dental Assistant Professional program you will be eligible to apply for provisional registration (a permit to practice after graduation*) with the CADA.
*Graduates can expect to wait 2-4 weeks after completion of practicum for confirmation from the CADA that provisional registration is in effect
before starting to work as a dental assistant.
Information for Provisional Registration can be found on the CADA website:
As a Dental Assistant, you will have the opportunity to work directly with dentists treating patients. You may also provide support to the dental office by working as a receptionist or a sterilization assistant. The starting salary range for Dental Assistant Professionals in Alberta is $21 – $27 per hour.
When you become a Registered Dental Assistant, you will unlock doors to careers in many different areas, including:
- Registered Dental Assistant
- Public Health Dental Assistant
- Dental Specialty Assistant
- Dental Assistant Educator
- Denturist Assistant
- Clinical Float Assistant
- Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Clerk (sterilization)
- Continuing Care Coordinator
- Dental Administrator/Receptionist
- Financial Coordinator
- Treatment Coordinator
- Dental Hygiene Coordinator
- Public Educator in Oral Health Prevention
- Dental Lab Assistant
- Dental Sales Representative
- Dental Benefits Representative – Insurance Company
The following is a list of organizations that have hired graduates of this program:
- Group Calgary Orthodontics
- Renew Dental
- Millenium Dental
- R Giles Professional Corporation
- Summit Dental
- Emergency Dental YYC
- Outdoor Dental
- All North Dental
- Southpointe Dental
- Family Braces
- Sierra Centre for Dental Wellness
- Welcome Smile Dental
- Innisfail Dental Centre
- Evanston Dental
- Dr. David Chan Dental Clinic
- Crowsnest Dental
- Northern Hills Dental
- Sundre Dental
- Nose Creek Dental
- Small to Tall Pediatrics
- Birchland Dental Clinic
- South Family Dental
- West Airdrie Dental
- Vista Landing Dental Clinic
- Essential Dentistry
- McCall Dental
- Sylvan Lake Dental Centre
- Urban Oasis Dental Studio
- Signal Hill Dental
- Alpine Dental
- Alpen Dental
- Core Dental Edmonton
- Okotoks Orthodontics
- Aurora Dental Group
- North Calgary Pediatric Dentistry
- Arbour Estates Dental Health
- Railway Avenue Dental
- InLine Orthodontics
- Dr. Harry Penner and Dr. Bradley Low
- Richmond Dental Clinic
- Millrise Dental Clinic
- Sorenson Dental Clinic
- 16th Avenue Dental
- Lectures 1
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 1
- Assessments Yes