Colorado Options for Tomorrow’s Dental Assistants

You can expect strong growth in the market for dental assistants in the coming years. [Seguir leyendo en español]

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment forecasts that employment in this area in Colorado will grow by 28.5% for the ten years to 2025. This is well ahead of the national average and is also above the predicted growth rate in employment for all professions in the State of Colorado. (Visit this page for information on dental hygienist schools in Colorado, requirements, salaries and more).

Requirements

There are no training or education requirements for the basic level of dental assistants in Colorado. However, in order to practice in a dental setting where sedation, anesthesia or nitrous oxide is administered you must provide proof of current basic life support (BLS) skills and knowledge.

Additionally, there are requirements for operating x-ray equipment and performing radiographic procedures. You must be at least 18 and successfully complete basic training in the safe use of radiation. Approveed education pathways include 3 hours of classroom training and 5 hours clinical experience on a program accredited by the Colorado Comission on Higher Education, on-the-job training with a licensed dentist if the training module is approved by the Colorado Dental Board, or passing the national DANB Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) exam or the national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam.

The Colorado Board of Dental Examiners does not recognize the title of Expanded Duties Dental Assistant (EDDA) and does not qualify dental assistants to perform such duties.

This guide provides more information on the requirements for dental assistants in Colorado.

Popular Programs

Dental Assistant Salaries in Colorado

Salaries for dental assistant in Colorado are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics be an average of $39,060, which is equivalent to $18.78 per hour. There are currently over 5,500 people employed as dental assistants in Colorado. Of these, almost 2,900 have jobs in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area, while just over 1,100 have jobs in Colorado Springs. Salaries in the Denver area are generally higher, averaging $41,640. In Colorado Springs, the average salary is $35,800.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Boulder, CO500$19.67$40,920
Colorado Springs, CO1,120$17.21$35,800
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO2,870$20.02$41,640
Fort Collins, CO420$18.09$37,620
Grand Junction, CO220$15.10$31,400
Greeley, CO190$20.13$41,870
Pueblo, CO190$15.12$31,450

Well-known Schools

The US Department of Education tells us there are 15 dental assistant schools in Colorado. Of these, five are public two-year colleges and the remainder are private, for-profit institutions. In addition, there are some private schools offering dental assisting education that are not recognized by the DoE, but may be recognized by the State’s Education Department. For reviews of schools, check out sites like CollegeTimes.co or StudentsReview.com.

If you’re looking for a dental assistant school in Denver, Emily Griffith Technical College is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The school is located right in downtown Denver. Its certificate program is hybrid, meaning that some online activities substitute classroom time. The program itself is not currently accredited by the ADA.

In Fort Collins, Front Range Community College offers a Dental Assisting certificate program at its Larimer Campus, five miles due south of the city. The program includes clinical experiences at sites in northern Colorado and is nationally accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Pickens Technical College in Aurora offers certificate programs in Dental Assisting and in Expanded Duty Dental Assisting (EDDA). Full-time students may obtain their certificate in 3 semesters, while part-time students can achieve it in 5 semesters. The dental assisting program is CODA-accredited.

Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs offers a CODA-accredited Certificate and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Dental Assisting. You must be at least 18 years of age to enroll in the dental radiology courses in these programs. There are no academic prerequisites for the certificate program. To apply for the AAS program, you must first be a graduate of an ADA-accredited Dental Assisting certificate program. If you are not a graduate of a CODA-accredited dental assisting program, but wish to develop skills as an expanded-functions dental assistant (EFDA), you must either be a Certified Dental Assistant or have at least two years of full-time experience as a chairside dental assistant.

The only CODA-accredited program in Pueblo is offered by Pueblo Community College, located to the west of the city. It is also the only local school that has a full service dental clinic that is open to the public. This offers students the opportunity to gain clinical experiences on-site, and provides reduced cost dental services to the local community.

The American School of Dental Assisting, while not recognized by the US Department of Education, is approved by the Colorado Department of Education’s Division of Private Occupational Schools. It offers 11 Saturdays of training at its locations in Denver, Fort Collins, Cheyenne and Colorado Springs. Similarly, Colorado Dental Assisting School offers a 10-week program in Denver, Colorado Springs and Castle Rock. Also, The National School of Dental Assisting, also known as Colorado School of Dental Assisting, offers a 12-week program at locations in Broomfield, South Denver, Pueblo and Fort Collins, as well as locations in Nevada, Texas and Washington State. Finally, Premier School of Dental Assisting in southeast Denver offers a 13-week program, with 78 hours of lecture and lab, plus a 50-hour dental assistant internship with a practicing dentist. None of these schools offers a ADA, CODA-accredited program.

Colorado Springs, CO

Pikes Peak Community College

5675 S Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906-5498
(719) 502-2000
http://www.ppcc.edu/app/catalog/current/dental-assisting.htm

The Associate’s program at Pikes Peak Community College is offered at their campus in Colorado Springs in El Paso County. The majority of the school’s 15,175 students are on 2-year programs. Typical in-state tuition fees are approximately $3,156 per year. Tuition for students from other states is $12,055. The program prepares students for employment as chair-side dental assistants, and a minimum of 300 clinical hours is required to complete it, in addition to the prescribed coursework.

Pima Medical Institute-Colorado Springs

3770 Citadel Drive North, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
(719) 482-7462
http://pmi.edu/Programs/Certificate/Dental-Assistant

Pima Medical Institute’s diploma program is offered at their campus in the city of Colorado Springs, CO. This private, for-profit college has about 607 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The dental assistant program has annual tuition fees of $11,562 and material costs of $714. The average completion time for the program is 8 months.

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

Front Range Community College

3645 W 112th Ave, Westminster, Colorado 80031
(303) 404-5000
http://web1.frontrange.edu/catalog/4442.htm

Front Range Community College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in Westminster in Adams County, CO. This public college has around 20,527 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $3,224 per year, while students from other states will pay $12,134. The Front Range Dental Clinic, staffed by licensed dentists, provides a part of the clinical experience, as well as an internships. Students take three sequential clinical courses, without a semester break between experiences.

Concorde Career College-Aurora

111 N. Havana Street, Aurora, Colorado 80010-4314
(303) 861-1151
http://www.concorde.edu/program/dental-assistant-assisting

The Certificate program at Concorde Career College is offered at their campus in the city of Aurora. This private, for-profit college has approximately 764 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The dental assistant program has annual tuition fees of $15,088 and material costs of $1,455. On average the program takes 8 months to complete.

Emily Griffith Technical College

1250 Welton Street, Denver, Colorado 80204-2197
(720) 423-4700
http://www.emilygriffith.edu/dental-assisting-hybrid-program

Emily Griffith Technical College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in the city of Denver, CO. This public college has around 2,597 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years.Tuition fees at the college are around $7,490 per year. Tuition for students from outside the state of Colorado is $7,490. This is a hybrid program, which means that some online activities are substituted for time in the class. Students may complete online coursework anywhere and anytime you have an internet connection.

Heritage College-Denver

12 Lakeside Lane, Denver, Colorado 80212
(303) 477-7240
http://www.heritage-education.com/denverdentalassistantschool_1a.htm

Heritage College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in Denver in Denver County, CO. Most of the school’s 616 students are on 2-year programs. The dental assistant program has annual tuition fees of $12,493 and material costs of $457. The average completion time for the program is 10 months. The program at Heritage College is called Dental Assisting and Dental Radiology. Students are placed in internships by the campus placement office during their training.

Grand Junction, CO

Intellitec College-Grand Junction

772 Horizon Dr, Grand Junction, Colorado 81506
(970) 245-8101
http://www.intelliteccollege.com/career-training-programs/healthcare/dental-assistant.php

Intellitec College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in the city of Grand Junction, CO. The college has about 678 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Tuition fees at this college are about $25,707 per year. Tuition for students from other states is $25,707. At Intellitec College student develop their skills in a fully functional dental clinic on campus, gain an understanding of and execute dental procedures such as taking radiographs, and learn to teach oral hygiene to patients and to assist dentists in restoration and sterilization.

Pueblo, CO

Pueblo Community College

900 West Orman Avenue, Pueblo, Colorado 81004-1499
(719) 549-3200
http://www.pueblocc.edu/Academics/AreasStudy/HealthProfessions/DentalAssisting/

The Certificate program at Pueblo Community College is taught at their Pueblo campus. The program is ADA accredited. The college has about 7,432 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. In-state tuition is approximately $3,488 per year. Tuition for students from other states is $12,334. Students are prepared to perform patient care, chair side assisting procedures, tray set-ups and to maintain accurate patient records. Students are also taught ubber dam and matrix band application, dental material manipulation and application, post-operative instructions, infection control procedures, and coronal polishing and fluoride application.

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