Admissions

  1. How many people usually apply for the program?
  2. How are students usually selected for the program?
  3. Should I apply for the program if I don't have all of the prerequisites?
  4. If I don't get accepted into the program this year, may I apply again next year?
  5. When will I hear if I have been accepted into the program?

General Questions

  1. What will my career as a Certified Dental Assistant look like?
  2. What are the costs of books and supplies?
  3. What other expenses will I incur while taking the program?
  4. Does this program qualify for a student loan?
  5. What are expenses related to entry to practice as a CDA?
  6. Does this program ladder into any other university or college program?

Program Format

  1. What is the average class size?
  2. What is a typical weekly schedule?
  3. How many hours of class time is there per week?
  4. How much homework should be expected?
  5. Does this program offer Prior Learning Assessment ?
  6. Is fieldwork, practicum or internship available in this program?

Employment Outcomes

  1. What types of jobs will I be qualified for when I graduate?
  2. Is further training necessary for me to enter the job market?
  3. What are the starting wages a graduate can expect?
  4. Will I have to travel in order to find employment in this field? If so, where would this be?
  5. On average, what percentage of the class successfully completes the program and gets employment in the field?

 

Admissions

1. How many people usually apply for the program?

About 70 per year.

2. How are students usually selected for the program?

Once you have met the required prerequisites and have submit an application form, you are either admitted or placed on the waiting list, usually for the following year. Please check the Vancouver Island University, dental assistant calendar page for prerequisites.

3. Should I apply for the program if I don't have all of the prerequisites?

Applications are processed on a first-qualified, first-served basis. If you are currently working on a prerequisite and know the expected completion date, please contact the program Chair to discuss your options.

4. If I don't get accepted into the program this year, may I apply again next year?

Your name will be kept on the waitlist governed by your date of application.

5. When will I hear if I have been accepted into the program?

Registration will inform you of your acceptance. They try to give you as much notice as possible, but sometimes, for various reasons, students decide at the last minute not to attend. If this should happen, you may get a phone call at the last minute.

General Questions

1. What will my career as a Certified Dental Assistant look like?

A Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) works very closely with the dentist providing directed clinical care and promoting oral health with a holistic approach. He/she provides technological and administrative support to the dental team as a whole. The CDA can assist the dentist at chair side, applying rubber dams, preparing and manipulating dental materials, performing infection control procedures and instructing patients in oral health care. The CDA may also expose, process and mount X-rays, polish teeth, apply topical fluoride and topical anesthetic, take impressions of teeth and apply fissure sealants, among other duties.
The CDA holds one of the most diverse and interesting positions in a dental office. This position requires both versatility and responsibility.

2. What are the costs of books and supplies?

Costs range from $2000 to $2500 for books, supplies, uniforms, lab coats, shoes, and miscellaneous necessities. Fees are subject to change without notice.

3. What other expenses will I incur while taking the program?

There are three practicum placements over the course of the 10 months. These may involve travel outside of the greater Nanaimo area, therefore causing an added expense. Other expenses around graduation may also be incurred. Students are required to pay a student membership fee to the CDABC, a provincial dental assistant association, in order to gain access to the association website. Once program requirements have been met, students are eligible to write a National Board exam (NDAEB) and register with the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC). There are fees for both of these activities which must be incurred in order to practice as a Certified Dental Assistant in BC.

4. Does this program qualify for a student loan?

Yes. You can apply for the government student loan and grant program. You may also qualify for institutional scholarships and bursaries. As well, you could contact Human Resources Development Canada and the Employment Centre office regarding sponsorship. Check with the Financial Aid & Awards office, located in Building 200 at the Nanaimo campus, or call 250-740-6423.

5. What are expenses related to entry to practice as a CDA?

In order to practice as a Certified Dental Assistant in BC, the graduate must successfully complete the National Dental Assistants Examining Board (www.ndaeb.ca) exam. Prior to employment, a one-time registration fee and an annual license fee must be paid to the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (www.cdsbc.org).

6. Does this program ladder into any other university or college program?

It is not possible to ladder into any other programs from this one. However, students may choose to further their careers with post-graduate courses, e.g., the Prosthodontic or Orthodontic Module.


Program Format

1. What is the average class size?

36 students.

2. What is a typical weekly schedule?

Students attend school Monday to Thursday, with variable hours. There is a one-hour lunch break daily. Some weekend sessions may be scheduled, but students are given prior notice of these.

3. How many hours of class time is there per week?

This full-time program requires that the student be in class for 28 hours per week; however, this may vary during practicum weeks.

4. How much homework should be expected?

2-3 hours per night.

5. Does this program offer Prior Learning Assessment?

Not at this time.

6. Is fieldwork, practicum or internship available in this program?

Of the 42-week program, five and a half weeks are practicum weeks. These are broken into half-week, two-week, and three-week sessions. The student may be required to travel outside of the Nanaimo area for each of the practice experiences and will be expected to work the posted hours of the office he/she is placed in.

Employment Outcomes

1. What types of jobs will I be qualified for when I graduate?

Certified Dental Assistants can find employment in a number of venues. Most practice in a general practice dental office, but others find employment in specialized dental offices, community and/or institutional health facilities, hospital dental clinics and educational institutions.

2. Is further training necessary for me to enter the job market?

No. When you graduate from this program, and after attaining registration and licensure from the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C., you are fully-qualified to enter the job market.

3. What are the starting wages a graduate can expect?

Wages of Certified Dental Assistants can vary depending on the area of the province you choose to practice in. The average wage for newly graduated CDAs range from $17 - $22 per hour.

4. Will I have to travel in order to find employment in this field? If so, where would this be?

Career opportunities in Nanaimo alone may be somewhat limited; however, if you are prepared to relocate, your chances will be enhanced.

5. On average, what percentage of the class successfully completes the program and gets employment in the field?

Ninety to 95% of our students complete the program and 85-95% find full-time employment. Approximately 5 - 15% of our students find part-time employment, often by choice.

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