Become a Dental Assistant in Illinois

Almost 13,000 people are employed as dental assistants in the state of Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), that number is set to grow by 10.8% in the ten years to 2024. That’s equivalent to 466 job openings every year.[Seguir leyendo en español]

For information on Dental Hygienist Schools in Illinois, see this page.

Requirements

The Illinois Board of Dentistry is the body responsible for the licensing of professionals.

Under the oversight of licensed dentist, a dental assistant can perform the basic supportive dental procedures (as defined by the state dental practice act) without the need for specific education or training.

However, in order to perform more advanced procedures – so-called “expanded functions” – you must be at least 18 years old, and demonstrate adequate clinical experience or training.

You must either complete a Board-approved course specific to the expanded function you wish to practice, or complete a Board-approved dental assisting program that contains the expanded function in the curriculum.

All expanded functions must be completed under the supervision of a dentist.

To perform coronal scaling and intracoronal temporization of a tooth, a dental assistant must have completed a training program in that function that has been approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional
Regulation (IDFPR). They must complete an approved coronal polishing course prior to taking coronal scaling course. Additionally, they must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical experience.

You must be at least 18 years old and maintain a current Basic Life Support certification to place, carve and finish amalgam restorations. You must hold a current DANB Certified Dental Assistant certification or have at least two years (or 4,000 hours) of clinical experience. You are also required to pass a pre-examination on basic dental procedures and the fundamentals of dentistry, and complete a 40-hour course an institution with CODA-accredited program.

To perform coronal polishing, place pit and fissure sealants, monitor patients under nitrous oxide, or monitor patients under sedation, you must be over 18 and complete Board-approved course on this function. Additionally you must have either completed 1,000 hours of experience, have completed a CODA-approved dental assisting program or hold a current national DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification.

To summarize, the fastest route for a new dental assistant that wishes to become qualified is to take complete dental assisting program that has been approved by both the Board and CODA.

How long does it take to become a dental assistant in Illinois?

As there are no educational requirements to become a dental assistant in Illinois at the most basic level, there is no reason not to start your job search today for an entry-level position. However, you may find opportunities limited by a lack of qualifications, you will not be able to perform expanded functions and there will be a ceiling on how much you can earn. To take advantage of the best opportunities, you should prepare yourself with training from a reputable school.

If you are in a hurry to start work, you may consider schools that are not recognized by the US Department of Education. These typically offer programs that are developed by practicing dentists and are highly practical. They also tend to be very short. Novera Dental Assisting Center, for example, offers a 10-week program. Note that such programs will not prepare you to perform expanded functions, although they can offer you the practical training to use X-ray equipment, which has no specific requirements in the state of Illinois.

If you intend to pursue a career in dental assisting and take advantage of higher-paying opportunities, or if you are considering advancing to become a dental hygienist in the future, you should consider taking a program at a recognized college. College certificate programs generally last three semesters and prepare you to take the national Certified Dental Assistant exam.

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Popular Programs

Dental Assistant Salaries by Area

Dental Assistants in the state of Illinois were reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to earn an average annual salary of $37,860 in 2016, which is equivalent to $18.20 per hour. The greatest concentration of dental assistant jobs is in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan area. Salaries in and around Chicago average $38,350 annually.

AreaTotal EmployedMean Hourly WageMean Annual Salary
Bloomington, IL140$20.05$41,710
Cape Girardeau, MO-IL90$14.98$31,150
Carbondale-Marion, IL110$14.18$29,490
Champaign-Urbana, IL90$19.06$39,650
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI9,920$18.44$38,350
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL320$17.92$37,270
Decatur, IL80$17.07$35,510
Kankakee, IL70$17.12$35,620
Peoria, IL290$21.36$44,430
Rockford, IL370$17.55$36,510
Springfield, IL210$20.06$41,710
St. Louis, MO-IL2,970$16.92$35,190

Well-known Schools

The US Department of Education considers there to be 10 colleges offering dental assistant programs in Illinois. (Wilbur Wright College and Malcolm X College, both part of City Colleges of Chicago, no longer offer their certificate programs in dental assisting.) Of these, 5 are public community colleges and 5 are private for-profit colleges. The cost of studying at private for-profit colleges tends to be significantly higher, although they often more flexible learning options. Search online for reviews of colleges that interest you and get the opinions of former students.

Chicago

As City Colleges of Chicago no longer offers training in this field, public options in Chicago are limited.

Elgin Community College, in Elgin, about 36 miles from the center of Chicago offers a 3-semester program leading to a Certificate. The program prepares students to take the national CDA exam, expanded functions exams and incorporates 300 hours of clinical experience.

Private colleges include State Career College in Waukegan, which offers a 17-week “Chairside Assistant” program, and First Institute Inc. in Crystal Lake, which offers a 50-week program.

There are various options not recognized by the US Department of Education more centrally located in the Chicago area. Novera Dental Assisting Center, offering a 10-week program is located in Franklin Park. Chicago Career College (Dental Assistant Academy of Chicago), approved to operate by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, is located on E Washington Street. Illinois Dental Careers offers both a dental assisting and an orthodontic assisting program in Harwood Heights. None of these programs is eligible for federal financial aid.

Other Locations

Illinois Valley Community College offers a CODA-accredited Certificate program in Oglesby. The program can be completed either full-time in one year, or part-time in two.

John A. Logan College (JALC) also offers a CODA-accredited program in Carterville, Kaskaskia College in Centralia and Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.

Carbondale-Marion, IL

John A Logan College

700 Logan College Road, Carterville, Illinois 62918-2500
(618) 985-3741
http://www.jalc.edu/allied-health-and-public-service/dental-assisting-program

John A Logan College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in Carterville in Williamson County, IL. The program is accredited by the American Dental Association. This public college has approximately 7,437 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Yearly fees for in-district students are $2,910, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $7,890 and $9,450 respectively.

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College

4300 N Narragansett, Chicago, Illinois 60634-1500
(773) 777-7900
http://www.ccc.edu/colleges/wright/departments/pages/dental-assistant.aspx

City Colleges of Chicago’s diploma program is offered at their campus in the city of Chicago, IL. The college has about 12,468 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Annual tuition fees for in-district students are $3,070, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $5,961 and $7,498 respectively.

Everest College-Bedford Park

7414 South Cicero Avenue, Bedford Park, Illinois 60629-5819
(708) 793-4600
http://www.everest.edu/campus/bedford_park/program/dental-assistant

The Certificate program at Everest College is taught at their Bedford Park campus. This private, for-profit college has approximately 971 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years.Annual fees for the dental assisting program are $16,973 and books and supplies costs of $1,012. The average completion time for the program is 8 months.

Everest College-Melrose Park

1101 West North Avenue, Suite 1, Melrose Park, Illinois 60160-1526
(708) 731-4400
http://www.everest.edu/campus/melrose_park/program/dental-assistant

The Certificate program at Everest College is offered at their campus in Melrose Park in Cook County. The majority of the school’s 630 students are on < 2-year programs. The dental assistant program has annual tuition fees of $16,973 and material costs of $1,016. The average completion time for the program is 8 months.

Everest College-Merrionette Park

11560 S. Kedzie, Merrionette Park, Illinois 60803
(708) 239-0055
http://www.everest.edu/campus/merrionette_park/program/dental-assistant

The Certificate program at Everest College is taught at their Merrionette Park campus. The college has around 534 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years.The dental assistant program has annual tuition fees of $16,973 and material costs of $1,017. The average completion time for the program is 8 months.

Illinois School of Health Careers

11 East Adams St. Ste 200, Chicago, Illinois 60603
(312) 913-1230
http://ishc.edu/dental-assistant/

The Certificate program at Illinois School of Health Careers is taught at their Chicago campus. The majority of the school’s 551 students are on < 2-year programs. The dental assistant program has annual tuition fees of $15,350 and material costs of $650. The average completion time for the program is 7 months.

Illinois School of Health Careers-O’Hare Campus

8750 W Bryn Mawr Ste 300, Chicago, Illinois 60631
(773) 444-0300
http://ishc.edu/dental-assistant/

The Certificate program at Illinois School of Health Careers is offered at their campus in the city of Chicago. This private, for-profit college has approximately 264 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years.The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Annual tuition fees for the dental assisting program are $15,350 and books and supplies costs of $650. On average the program takes 7 months to complete.

Sanford-Brown College-Skokie

4930 Oakton Street, Skokie, Illinois 60077-2900
(847) 983-1200
http://www.sanfordbrown.edu/Areas-Of-Study/Dental/Dental-Assistant/Certificate-Program-In-Dental-Assisting?campus=IADT-Chicago

The Certificate program at Sanford-Brown College is taught at their Skokie campus. This private, for-profit college has approximately 309 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs.

Elgin Community College

1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, Illinois 60123-7193
(847) 697-1000
http://elgin.edu/students.aspx?id=2838

Elgin Community College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in the city of Elgin, IL. The program is ADA accredited. Most of the school’s 11,554 students are on 2-year programs. Annual tuition fees for in-district students are $2,626, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $8,530 and $11,554 respectively.

Elgin Community College

1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, Illinois 60123-7193
(847) 697-1000
http://elgin.edu/students.aspx?id=2838

Elgin Community College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in the city of Elgin, IL. The program is accredited by the American Dental Association. Most of the school’s 11,554 students are on 2-year programs. Annual tuition fees for in-district students are $2,626, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $8,530 and $11,554 respectively.

State Career College

2770 W. Grand Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois 60085-5129
(847) 693-3838 x103
http://www.starkstate.edu/academic-programs/dental-assisting

The Certificate program at State Career College is offered at their campus in Waukegan in Lake County. The college has about 47 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years.The college’s retention rate for full-time students is 100%. The dental assistant program has annual tuition fees of $2,100 and material costs of $1,900. On average the program takes 5 months to complete.

Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL

Midwest Technical Institute-Moline

3620 Avenue of the Cities, Moline, Illinois 61265-4421
(309) 277-7900 x1416
http://www.midwesttech.edu/Dental-Assistant/dental-assistant-course-description.html

The Certificate program at Midwest Technical Institute is offered at their campus in the city of Moline. This private, for-profit college has about 288 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years.The college’s retention rate for full-time students is over 80%. Annual fees for the dental assisting program are $13,761 and books and supplies costs of $139. The average completion time for the program is 9 months.

Ottawa-Streator, IL

Illinois Valley Community College

815 N Orlando Smith Ave, Oglesby, Illinois 61348-9692
(815) 224-2720
https://www.ivcc.edu/dental.aspx?id=550

Illinois Valley Community College’s diploma program is offered at their campus in Oglesby in La Salle County, IL. The program is accredited by the ADA. Most of the school’s 3,944 students are on 2-year programs. Annual fees for in-district students are $3,242, while fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $8,994 and $9,767 respectively.

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