Jun 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog and Student Handbook 
2022-2023 Catalog and Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Dental Assisting, Certificate - 120

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Germanna Community College offers a Certificate in Dental Assisting. The program consists of a combination of traditional and clinical learning modalities. The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to serve in a dynamic and growing health profession as valuable members of the Dental Health team. The program can provide a seamless pathway for students who wish to advance to the Dental Assisting II program and/or matriculate to an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene. 

Admission Requirements: All students will be required to demonstrate college readiness through transcript review or informed self-placement.  Based on this review students may request or be required to enroll in prerequisite or corequisite math and/or English courses. Applicants are to submit the completed Dental Assisting Program application, transcripts, and a copy of their preadmission dental test scores via the application portal. Applicants must provide evidence of a Division of Nursing and Health Technologies approved criminal history report and all applicable credentials status for review with the dental application. Applicants are responsible for fees associated with this report. Applicants who have committed a felony/misdemeanor may not be offered admission. Applicants who have a drug or alcohol related offense will be disqualified. 

Program Goals:

  1. Graduates will demonstrate competency in ethics, values, skills and knowledge of dental assisting practice.
  2. Graduates will increase the efficiency and efficacy of dental care in the private and public dental practice, associated industries, and through community service.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate a commitment to professional development and life-long learning in the dental profession.

Purpose: The curriculum is designed to prepare selected students to serve in a dynamic and growing health profession as valuable members of the Dental Health team. The student will be eligible to take the Dental Assisting National Board Examination as part of the program.

Transfer Information: Although transfer is not the primary purpose of a certificate program, GCC credits may transfer to other associate degree programs and/or senior institutions. Students interested in transfer should contact a counselor or their faculty advisor early in their program.

Special Accreditation Status: The program in dental assisting is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and has been granted the accreditation status of “approval without reporting requirements”. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611. The Commission’s web address is: http://www.ada.org/en/coda. Germanna’s next site visit is scheduled for November 2027.  Third party comments may be submitted by interested parties such as faculty, students, program administrators, Commission consultants, specialty and dental-related organizations, patients, and/or consumers.  Comments are accepted 60 days prior to each program’s site visit to allow time for the program to respond.  Comments should be sent to 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, or by calling 1-800-621-8099, extension 4653.  All comments submitted must pertain only to the standards relative to the particular program being reviewed or policies and procedures used in the accreditation process.

Essential Dental Assisting Functions: Essential Dental Assisting Functions:  To successfully complete the Program, the student must be able to perform all of the essential functions of a dental assistant:

  1. Students must possess eye/hand coordination, sufficient motor function, strength, and endurance with both hands and arms, as well as utilize digital fine motor skills to deliver patient care for varying lengths of time throughout the day.  
  2. Students must have the ability to tolerate frequent hand washing and/or use of disinfectants including hand-sanitizing agents.  Additionally, students must have the ability to wear protective gloves when indicated.
  3. Students must have the ability to perform single provider CPR in the management of a patient during an emergency.
  4. Students must possess the physical capacity to participate in required laboratory, preclinical, and clinical experiences, as well as lift and operate equipment with necessary strength and dexterity.
  5. Students must possess the capacity to participate in administrative duties related to the dental assisting profession. 
  6. Students must have the ability to utilize auditory and sensory perception sufficient to monitor and assess patient needs.
  7. Students must possess normal or corrected visual ability in order to assess oral health conditions and perform clinical procedures on patients.
  8. Students must be able to communicate in person and via electronic devices by   effective use of the English language.
  9. Students must comply with the Code Ethics and bylaws as defined by the American Dental Assistants’ Association and the statutes and regulations associated with the Commonwealth of Virginia Dental Practice Act.
  10. Students must be able to participate as a full-time student and commit at least 42 hours a week to the program. 

Despite the foregoing, a qualified person with a disability who can perform these essential functions with reasonable accommodation will be considered for admission along with other qualified applicants.

Occupational Objectives: This program is designed to provide essential technological and practical knowledge required for a Dental Assistant I to perform efficiently in a dental office. Training experiences in nearby dental clinics and private dental offices are provided.

General Admission Requirements: Applicant selection into the Dental Assisting Program is selective and competitive, students are admitted annually. For more information on the application process, students should visit the department website or call the department office at (540) 423- 9823 or (540) 423-9833. To qualify to apply to the Dental Assisting Certificate Program, all interested students must complete the following:

  • An application to Germanna Community College
  • Have on file with Admissions and Records a High School or Home School Diploma or GED
  • Qualify for MDE 10   within the last 5 years
  • Have a GPA of 2.0 or greater and demonstrated competency in Math (MDE 10  ) & ENG 111  eligible.
  • Have college transcripts or joint services on file with Admissions and Records if applicable.
  • Have completed the TEAS
  • If there are more qualified applicants than spaces available, student selection will be made in a blinded fashion using the TEAS test, the student’s GPA, essay score, residency in service region, and the number of credits completed towards completion of the DA certificate. Students with highest combined scores and number of credits toward graduation will be selected.
  • A three to five paragraph essay is also included with the application packet.
  • The essays are evaluated by the Director of the DA program, DA faculty and a member of the Diversity Council using a rubric. The Registrar attends but does not vote. Students receiving the top mean rubric score from these evaluations are admitted to the Dental Assisting Certificate program.
  • Applications for the Certificate in Dental Assisting Program are due by September 1. Applicants’ transcripts, answers to essay questions, and dental assisting pre-admission test scores will be evaluated and ranked according to the requirements and priorities noted above. Final decisions regarding admission are made by a Dental Assisting Admissions Committee. Dental Assisting Faculty, the Dean of Nursing and Health Technologies, a science faculty member, and a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Council comprise this committee.
  • The number of qualified applicants offered admission to the dental assisting program is contingent upon the space available in the classrooms and dental laboratories, the program’s access to sufficient clinical spaces in the region’s healthcare settings in order to meet the program’s learning outcomes, and the number of qualified dental assisting faculty to teach the students in classrooms, labs, and clinical settings.

Additional Admission Requirements/Recommendations:

  1. It is recommended that students pass all General Education courses with a “C” or better prior to admission into the program.
  2. Students may be required to repeat courses or to complete evaluative testing for credits earned more than ten years ago.
  3. Since the dental assistant program has many applicants and the number of admissions is contingent upon available faculty and classroom and clinical spaces, the expected time it will take a student to earn the degree may exceed 11 months. Applicants are advised to complete the general education courses, especially BIO145 or BIO141 prior to entering the first dental assisting major course.
  4. It is recommended that students attend an information session.

Special Program Requirements: Applicants will be expected to have earned a “C” or better in all general education courses in the Certificate program. The Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Dentistry reserves the right to deny licensure to any candidate who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude or the use of drugs or alcohol to the extent that such use renders him/her unsafe to practice dental assisting. Any applicant who has been found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony must consult with the Dental Assisting Program Director prior to admission.

Germanna Community College complies with all recommendations and requirements issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Any prospective students interested in receiving a copy of the program’s policies on bloodborne pathogens should contact the Program Director at 540-423-9823 or mmesimer@germanna.edu.

Responsibilities of Dental Assisting Students:

The following are responsibilities of students in the Dental Assisting Program:

  1. To prepare students for the high ethical standards of the health professions, the College expects absolute academic integrity both in the classroom and in clinical practice. Therefore, cheating, attempting to cheat, plagiarizing, lying, stealing academic work which includes secured tests or related materials, submitting papers purchased or written by others, or failing to report an occurrence of academic dishonesty or any violation of this honor code may subject the student to the College’s disciplinary procedures as defined in the GCC Student Handbook.
  2. Students in dental assisting program incur a variety of expenses in addition to college tuition and fees. These include, but are not limited to, the cost of uniforms, accessories, and travel to clinical assignments. Students are also responsible for testing fees.
  3. A strict dress code is required in the clinical setting. Students may be dismissed if they fail to comply with this dress code.
  4. The College reserves the right to require students to obtain and maintain at their own expense liability/malpractice insurance with a carrier authorized to transact such business in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Whether or not insurance appropriate to the program is required, students are encouraged to carry such insurance on their own.
  5. Students are required to complete learning experiences at local clinics, private offices, and/or other community-based agencies. Students may be required to attend both day and/or evening clinical assignments.
  6. Students must provide their own transportation to clinical assignments. Strict attendance is required at clinical sites.
  7. Students may utilize the resources of the assigned clinical affiliate, at the discretion of the assigned clinical affiliate, for emergency medical treatment for injuries or illness that may occur during the time period when students are assigned to the health care facility. The student is responsible for any expenses incurred for this treatment.
  8. Students must comply with all clinical contract protocols including immunization requirements, drug screening and background checks.
  9. Students must keep their CPR certifications current.
  10. While enrolled in clinical courses, students may not replace or take the responsibility of “qualified” staff in affiliated facilities. However, after demonstrating proficiency, students may be permitted to perform specified procedures under careful supervision. Students may be employed in clinical facilities outside regular education hours provided that such work does not interfere with academic responsibilities. The work must be non-compulsory and subject to employee regulations. Any exception must have the approval of the Dean of Nursing and Health Technologies. Unless formally employed by the clinical site or the College, students are not covered under OSHA regulations or worker’s compensation laws.
  11. Students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior consistent with standards associated with health care practitioners.

Continuation Requirements for Dental Assisting Students

The following continuation requirements govern students in the Dental Assisting Program:

  1. Each course in the program major must be completed with a grade of “C”or better before taking the next course in the sequence and to satisfy graduation requirements, unless waived by the Division Dean upon the recommendation of the Program Director.
  2. All courses in the major must be taken in the sequence prescribed in the GCC Catalog, unless otherwise approved by the Program Director.
  3. To pass a course students must successfully complete both the didactic (classroom) and the clinical/lab requirements.
  4. Program faculty and clinical affiliates reserve the right to recommend, through appropriate channels, withdrawal of any student who exhibits unsafe performance or non-adherence to prescribed clinical affiliate policies and procedures.
  5. Satisfactory physical and mental health must be maintained for continuance in the program. Applicants must be free of any physical and/or mental condition that might adversely affect their acceptance or performances in the program. The College reserves the right to require medical examinations and drug testing to verify continuing compliance. Students with pre-existing physical and/or mental conditions which might adversely affect performance in the program who do not self-disclose this information are subject to dismissal from the program.
  6. Students with criminal convictions who do not self-disclose this information are subject to dismissal from the program.

Program Re-Enrollment Requirements for Dental Assisting Students

Any student who has voluntarily withdrawn or who has been withdrawn due to unsatisfactory academic or clinical performance may apply for re-admission the following academic year. Acceptance will be based upon space availability, successful fulfillment of any contingencies agreed to in writing at the time of withdrawal, and Program Director approval. An interview and medical examination may be required.

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