Mar 19, 2019  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Bulletin

Dental Assisting Certificate

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Program: Certificate in Dental Assisting
Department of Dental Education  
College of Health and Human Services

Neff Hall Room 150 ~ 260-481-6837 ~

Current Professional and Pre-students - beginning Fall, 2018 our dental programs are expected to transition from being IPFW programs to Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) programs. As always, our Indiana University dental programs will continue to be taught on the Fort Wayne campus. The only change is that IUSD will be our fiscal agent as of July 1, 2018, as we used to be from 1964 to the 1980s. For admission criteria to the Certified Dental Assisting (CDA) Program for the Fall 2018 CDA Program, please contac the Department of Dental Education at to schedule with an advisor.


The Dental Assisting Program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation, 211 E Chicago Ave # 780, Chicago, IL 60611-6983, 312-440-2500,

The student learning outcomes for the Dental Assisting Program are as follows:

  • Demonstrate the breadth and depth of knowledge in basic sciences, social sciences, and clinical practice to deliver comprehensive care to patients in the practice of dentistry.
  • Demonstrate and incorporate problem-solving skills in critical thinking, interpretation, reasoning, questioning, and decision-making.
  • Demonstrate competence in assessing, evaluating, planning, and treating oral conditions and diseases.
  • Demonstrate effective written, oral, and multimedia skills to communicate effectively in diverse settings.
  • Interpret, evaluate, and synthesize current scientific dental research and apply evidence-based reasoning skills.
  • Comprehend and demonstrate current technology in the practice of dentistry, as it is constantly changing.
  • Demonstrate the highest levels of ethical behavior, personal integrity, and professional ethics in the practice of dentistry and the patients that are under their care.
  • Assume a leadership and collaborative role in the advancement of the dental profession through local, regional, national, and international communities and professional organizations.
  • Demonstrate and apply the skills for life-long learning and professional development.

The Dental Assisting Program curriculum includes didactic, laboratory, and clinical courses with at least one semester of prerequisite courses and four semesters of professional dental assisting courses. Students are designated as pre-dental assisting students prior to admission to the program. The professional curriculum is a structured, full-time program beginning each Fall semester. The curriculum prepares students for a career as a dental health professional. A graduate may choose to specialize in any of the following areas of dentistry: general dentistry, restorative (expanded functions) in general or pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery, periodontics, assist in dental surgery at area hospitals, endodontics, public health dentistry, dental sales, dental insurance, dental research, business assisting or office management, or clinical supervision. Graduates take the national boards to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) making them eligible to obtain a dental radiology license in the State of Indiana.

Application to the Program

Applicants must make an appointment with a CDA advisor to discuss the program and receive current information regarding admission, prerequisite requirements, preferred admission courses, and future degree completion options. To make an appointment with your advisor, email the Department of Dental Education at or stop by thte Department of Dental Education office, NF 150, for your dental advisor’s business card.

In order to apply to the Dental Assisting Program a student must:

  • Complete prerequisite courses at IPFW (or equivalent courses at another accredited college or university) by May 18 for entry to the Fall semester of that year. Prerequisite courses may not be graded on a pass/not-pass option.
  • Submit a current CDA application, two separate general dental office observation forms, and proof of Hepatitis B antibody titer results no later that March 1 for entry to the Fall semester of that year. Admission to IPFW does not confer admission to this program. To be admitted to the certificate program students must apply separately to IPFW and the Dental Assisting Program. When you meet with your advisor, they will give you a packet that includes the CDA application and the general dental office observation forms.

Because space in the Dental Assisting Program is limited to 20 students per year, admission is competitive.

The number of eligible applicants each year may exceed the number of spaces available.

Class Selection Process

Acceptance into the Dental Assisting Program is based on the following: 

  • Applicants must have a minimum prerequisite grade-point average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in the 15 hours of pre-dental assisting curriculum. The GPA is calculated on only the 15 hours of prerequisite courses. Applicants are ranked based on this GPA.  A minimum GPA does not guarantee admission. The actual GPA necessary for admission varies with the GPA distribution of the applicant pool. All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed (with a “C-” or better).
  • All transfer grades will be reviewed and evaluated in the admission process. Remedial or developmental courses cannot be used to fulfill the programs prerequisite requirements.
  • First-priority consideration for program admission will be given to students who have completed at least one prerequisite course at IPFW or at another Purdue University or Indiana University campus.
  • Number of Preferred Admissions courses successfully completed (with a “C-” or better).
  • Should a tie with the applicants GPA occur, rank ordering will be based upon the applicants’ cumulative GPA.
  • Applicants must meet the application, observation forms, and Hepatitis B antibody titer resultsby the  deadline of March 1.
  • Students may apply tot he program after March 1. However, they will be considered an alternate. The program accepts 8-12 alternates each year.
  • Applicants must return the acceptance form by the deadline stated in the acceptance letter.
  • Applicants who have not been accepted, but are qualified may reapply for admission.
  • Applicants must demonstrate meeting the College of Health and Human Services Technical Standards.
  • Students accepted to the CDA Program will receive detailed program information at their July orientation. Students will be required to submit evidence that they have completed the following before classes begin Fall semester:
    • A current physical examination (not earlier than the summer before the program begins)
    • Current two-step TB testing results (or the summer before the program begins)
    • Received at least two of the three Hepatitis B immunizations (before the program begins) or a Hepatitis B titer (blood test) results.
    • Has a current CPR certification at the healthcare-provider level or professional level from a DANB-approved CPR provider
    • Apply to the Indiana State Department of Health for a Radiology Permit. Students will be given the permit application at the July orientation
    • Complete a criminal background check. Students will receive online instructions at July orientation
    • Students who have been accepted to the program will receive a program manual at summer orientation that must be read before they start the program in August.
  • Applicants who have served in the military must submit an official military transcript to receive transfer credit, if applicable.
  • Students in the professional dental programs must pass a drug screening test, if requested.
  • Alternate Status - applicants can be considered an alternate if they:
  • 1. are still taking prerequisite courses in summer I and summer II
    2. apply after the March 1 application deadline
    3. complete the two dental office observations after March 1
    4. are late submitting their Hep B titer results after the March 1 deadline

Admission Policies

Reapplying.  Students who have not been accepted, but are qualified may reapply for admission. Students who decline admission two times will no longer be considered.

Academic Renewal.   Students who are returning to IPFW after five years or more are eligible for the Academic Renewal Option.  The Academic Renewal Option must be applied during a student’s first semester back at IPFW, regardless of when the student applies for admission to the Dental Assisting Program. The Program’s admission committee will recognize IPFW’s Academic Renewal Option when reviewing an applicant for admission.

Criteria for Dismissal from the Dental Assisting Program

  • A student may be dismissed for failure to meet academic, ethical, or professional standards. See Part 8 of the Bulletin for details.
  • The College of Health and Human Services Student Appeals Policy and forms can be found at

Special Academic Regulations for Students in the Department of Dental Education

Tattoos and Head / Neck Piercings

The dental profession is conservative. Tattoos and head / neck piercings are not considered acceptable in the health science professions. If students have tattoos, they must be covered by clothing. If they cannot be covered by clothing, students are required to cover tattoos with bandages. All head / neck piercings must be removed, including plugs.


Because of the experiential learning process used in all CDA courses, attendance is essential and mandatory. Some evening hours and Saturdays are required for additional clinical experiences and professional association meetings. Transportation to and from classes and clinical extramurals are the responsibility of the students.

Prerequisite Courses

  • Prerequisite and preferred admission courses must be completed by May 18 for admission into the class that begins Fall semester.
  • A minimum prerequisite GPA of 2.5 and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for all applicants.
  • A student may make two graded attempts at a prerequisite course, with the second grade calculated in the pre-dental assisting prerequisite GPA. The student’s two attempts will include any graded attempt, whether or not eliminated from the student’s grade point average by grade replacement (including other universities).  Repeated courses will not be averaged.
  • To apply for the Dental Assisting Certificate program, you must complete the following prerequisite courses by May 18 and receive a grade of C- or better.

You must complete the following prerequisite courses:  

Preferred Admission Courses

(with a grade of C- or better)

Total Credits: 70-81

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