Best Dental Assistant Schools in Chicago | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply

To become a dental assistant in Chicago Illinois, you can either complete an approved academic program in one of the Dental Assistant Schools or find an employer willing to train you on the job.

Illinois does not license dental assistants, so there are no formal education or training requirements. However, there are many good reasons to go to Dental Assistant Schools in Chicago, such as higher salaries, more job security, and career advancement opportunities.

Students looking to attend dental school in Chicago, Illinois have a few schools to choose from. However, there are several dental schools in the area with multiple programs.

Learn about the coursework and clinical requirements for each program below. The article also includes a table displaying various statistics about each school.

Are There Dental Assistant Schools In Chicago?

There are three top dental schools in Illinois that offer different but outstanding educational experiences while training their students to provide top-notch patient care.

Dental school admissions decisions are usually based on an applicant’s cumulative achievements and include a review of GPA, quality of higher education, the validity of letters of recommendation, and participation in volunteer and community service.

In addition, some colleges require interviews and job observations, and most expect applicants to take the DAT (Dental Aptitude Test).

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How Much Do Dental Assistant Schools Cost In Chicago?

Tuition for dental assistant schools in Chicago will vary based on the number of credit hours you take per semester and whether you are an Illinois resident.

If you take 12 credit hours and live in-state, your tuition will be $17,818. However, this is only the tuition fee. There are professional fees that can also add another $1,826.27 to the tuition bill, and assessment fees are another $570 and $4,076 per semester.

Add in about $2,000 for textbooks and other educational expenses, and the tuition bill you’d see in this hypothetical situation would be about $26,290. A person earning 12 credits and not a resident of Illinois will initially cost $32,063 (not including other fees).

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What Are The Requirements For Dental Assistant Schools In Chicago?

To be considered for the DMD program, applicants must:

Apply for AADSAS. Preference will be given to Illinois residents (Illinois Residency Rules; State Regulations);

Obtain a bachelor’s degree no later than June of the year of graduation from an accredited United States college or university located in the United States; any additional degrees listed on the dental school application must be published no later than June of the year of graduation.

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Complete all required coursework (described below) with a grade of “C” or better at an accredited US college or university by June of the senior year (There is no limit on junior college work, but it is recommended that most work be completed at a 4-year institution.)

Please note the safety standards and technical standards of the College of Dentistry program.

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What Are The Best Dental Assistant Schools In Chicago?

There are several possible paths to becoming a dental assistant. Some states require dental assistants to complete an accredited CODA program and pass an exam.

In other states, there are no formal educational requirements, and dental assistants learn to perform their duties through on-the-job training.

Listed below are schools offering dental assistant programs located in the Chicago area, sorted by CODA accredited schools and post-secondary vocational schools.

#1. University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry

At the top of the list of best dental schools in Illinois, the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry is at the forefront of oral health research and education, providing the best dental care to the surrounding community.

In addition to the D.M.D., students may also pursue a Ph.D. or M.S. in Oral Sciences and other advanced programs.

In addition, the U of I also has a joint degree program that awards a D.M.D. with a Master of Public Health degree in Public Health Sciences offered by the School of Public Health.

These flexible degree options illustrate the U of I’s commitment to leadership in the health professions.


#2. Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine

Located in rural Alton, the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine offers students a rural setting that is still only 30 minutes from St. Louis.

Additionally, it is the only dental school within 200 miles of this major metropolitan center and the only dental school in Illinois outside of Chicago.

Students who choose SIU’s School of Dental Medicine will have many opportunities to develop their skills in a variety of patient care.

Although first- and second-year students initially work in a simulation lab, third- and fourth-year students rotate through clinical experience working with multiple populations.

For example, 3rd year students work at SIU’s special needs clinic and have the opportunity to provide care to Special Olympics participants and patients with developmental disabilities off campus.


#3. Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine

Midwestern University, which was founded in 1900, is known for its D.M.D. dental program and other health-related disciplines such as medicine, pharmacy, optometry, and psychology.

In fact, the entire university is dedicated exclusively to the training of future healthcare professionals through a curriculum that combines coursework with research and service delivery opportunities.

The College of Dental Medicine prepares students to become dentists, of course, but also to pursue careers related to dental education and administration.

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Like all programs at Midwestern University, the College of Dental Medicine adheres to the principles of its One Health Initiative.

At its core, this philosophy, which underpins the school’s interprofessional curriculum, emphasizes that all life—from humans and animals to the environment—is connected. And so what affects one affects all.


#4. St. Xavier University

Saint Xavier University is a Catholic institution serving approximately 4,000 students each year on three campuses in the Chicago area.

The Pre-Health Professions program, which is part of the school’s College of Arts and Sciences, prepares students with the credits needed to enter a health professional program, such as medicine or dentistry.

Dental students enter a pre-med program in biology and then choose a pre-dentistry course.

The pre-dental school program prepares students to attend dental school, and Saint Xavier works closely with the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Students are encouraged to volunteer, research, and explore programs and clinics at UIC to get a better idea of ​​what field they would like to specialize in while working toward their bachelor’s degree at Saint Xavier.


How Much Do Dental Assistants In Chicago Earn?

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a dental assistant in Chicago is $41,180. The average hourly wage is $19.80. Dental assistants who work for the state have the highest salaries. Those in the top 10% of all salaries earn more than $58,000 a year.

Dental assistant salaries are competitive in Illinois. Illinois has the fifth highest number of dental assistants employed, and they earn $40,780 a year and an average of $19.61 an hour.

When you are ready to look for a dental assistant job, dental offices are the most likely to hire you. If you have not completed an education or dental assisting program, look for dentists willing to provide on-the-job training. Also look for opportunities with other types of employers.

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How Do I Become Dental Assistant In Chicago?

Although the state of Illinois does not require dental assistants to be licensed, many dental assistants prefer to obtain some sort of certification.

This involves education, certification, or at least some experience in the dental field. This may be an entry-level position, but assistants who are qualified and trained to perform more functions will be expected to earn more.

In order to be authorized to perform certain procedures, dental assistants must complete a certification course.

Dental assistants who are qualified to perform advanced functions must meet all criteria for each function as established by the state.

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Best Paying Dental Assistant Jobs in Chicago

When you are ready to look for a dental assistant job, dental offices are most likely to hire you. If you have not completed education or a dental assisting program, look for dentists willing to provide on-the-job training. Also, look for opportunities with other types of employers.

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Here are some examples of recent job listings from These give you an idea of ​​what is currently available in the state and what you can expect as a qualified dental assistant:

  • Surgical dental assistant – oral surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of Northwest Illinois, Forreston, $16 to $24 per hour
  • Dental clinical assistant, Endodontic & Periodontic Associates, Joliet, $16 to $20 per hour
  • Certified Dental Assistant, Lakeshore Dental Studio, Chicago, $15 to $22 per hour
  • Dental sterilization assistant, Lisa Konz Dental Care, Libertyville, $20 to $30 per hour
  • Orthodontic assistant, Smiles by Smoron, Mount Prospect, $17 to $22 per hour
  • Part-time dental assistant, Joliet Job Corps Center, Joliet, $19.76 per hour

Becoming a dental assistant in Illinois does not require a four-year degree or extensive training. This is a career in healthcare that you can start quickly and start earning money working with patients.

Dental Assistant Schools In Chicago FAQs

Are Dental Assistants In Demand In Chicago?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of dental assistant positions is growing by 7%. Nationwide, the BLS expects to see nearly 37,000 job openings for skilled dental assistants. These statistics are a long-term forecast for the period between 2020 and 2030.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assistant In Chicago?

The Doctor of Dental Medicine program takes four years of full-time study. In these programs, you will learn how to diagnose oral disease, determine treatment plans, and develop preventive oral health programs. You may be willing to continue your studies in a postdoctoral training program where you will develop skills in a specific area of ​​dentistry, such as oral surgery or orthodontics.

Where Do Dental Assistants Work In Chicago?

Most dental assistants work in dental offices. They work under the supervision of dentists and dental hygienists. Depending on the size of the office, you may be more focused on patient care or administrative duties.
Other employers for dental assistants include doctor’s offices, hospitals, government agencies, community clinics, and residential facilities like nursing homes. With a degree and advanced coursework, your dental assistant career options are greater.

How Long Is Dental Assistant Schools In Chicago?

The duration of the program depends on which program you choose. Some schools offer certificates, degrees, or both. Associate dental assisting programs are two years full-time.
Certification programs typically last a year or less. If you want to complete the dental assisting program and add advanced features courses later, this will be additional time.


Becoming a dental assistant is as easy as finding a job and completing training. However, if you want to earn more and be able to perform more intensive and complex procedures, you can become an Advanced Dental Assistant (EFDA).

You can take courses to meet the requirements for one feature set at a time. Alternatively, you can complete an advanced program to be eligible to perform all of those prescribed by the state.



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