Join the Smile Crew CA! Here you’ll find all of the information and resources you need to decide if a career as a Dental Assistant is right for you and how to get started. Dental Assistants enjoy:

  • Fast, affordable training programs
  • A secure and stable career with upward mobility in the healthcare field
  • Long term job security and jobs are available in every community
  • Competitive pay - many DAs start at more than $19 per hour (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Flexible hours – 4-5 day work weeks
  • Positive, team-based office environment
  • Ability to help and interact with patients
  • Make a difference in people’s health
  • Every day is different!
  • Benefits including time off

Dental Assistant Career Summary

Dental assistants support dentists and their patients as well as helping in the back office or lab.


  • Work alongside dentists during procedures
  • Collect patient data
  • Process X-rays
  • Counsel patients about oral health
  • Provide office support

How to Get Started

On the Job Training

Past experience or specific training is not required to start. Many dental assistants start their career in a dental office, gaining valuable on the job training. As your career advances, you will want to seek out additional education to increase your skills and pay.


Dental assistant programs for entry-level assisting and to become a registered dental assistant are an affordable alternative to four-year universities. Find assisting programs at a local school, community college or private college and you can complete your education in anywhere from 6-15 months.

Additionally, many dentists provide the education and training you need in their office while you work.

Certification and Training Programs Licensing Information

Training Opportunities

Are you interested in a career in dentistry?

We are looking for compassionate, energetic, career-minded individuals to participate in an upcoming dental assisting training program near you. In this program, you will learn foundational skills to help you secure a dental assistant position in a dental practice.

The Smile Crew Training Program is administered by California Dental Association, with funding support from Delta Dental Community Care Foundation. Click here to see Training Programs that are enrolling now. And, if you don't see program in your area, complete the form below to receive more information about upcoming training programs.


Job Openings

Dentists are hiring Dental Assistants and office staff now. Find a job near you!

Type in your location below and press "Go" to see jobs in your city. 

Featured Jobs

Career Outlook

Becoming a Dental Assistant is just the beginning. Joining the Smile Crew CA opens up numerous ways to advance your career.

Dental Assistant

Registered Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant with Extended Functions

  • Dental assistants (DA) have no licensing requirements and many dentists offer on the job training.
  • Registered Dental Assistants (RDA) are licensed professionals and can earn more than DAs.
  • Registered Dental Assistants in extended functions (RDAEF) receive an additional license after advanced training.
  • Orthodontic Assistants and Dental Sedation Assistants receive permits after successfully completing specialized training.

Learn more about related careers at the California Dental Association website.

Quick Facts

  • Jobs Are Available Now. There’s no doubt that dental assistants are in demand! Right now, you can find a job in almost every part of the state – big city or small town. Plus, the career is projected to grow 11% through 2028, which is much faster than the average field. It’s easy to search and apply for current openings on our job board.
  • Competitive Starting Salary & Growth Potential: The amount you earn depends on where you work but the earning potential is comparative to other entry-level positions in retail and hospitality. Dental assisting can be a lifelong career, and while some people use it as a stepping-stone toward other dental careers, others gain valuable on the job training, increasing their skills and pay.
  • Career Stability: The California dental industry needs more dental assistants and in this time of economic uncertainty the profession is recession resistant. People need dental care regardless of the economy, so they always need access to qualified professionals who can help.
  • Nights and Weekends Free: Dental assisting jobs come in both full and part-time positions and most dental offices have traditional hours during the week. Most dental assistants love the consistent schedule.
  • Low College Debt: A college degree isn’t required to start working as a dental assistant, though some dentist offices may want candidates from a one-year certification program. In some cases, dentists will let you learn on the job and many will invest in your education and growth as a benefit to the entire office. Either way, you can start your career right away without accruing debt associated with four-year college.
  • Dynamic Workplace: You’ll never be bored! There are a variety of responsibilities, so no day is the same as the one before. You can manage appointments and medical records one day and assist the dentist with exams the next. Eventually you might help with x-rays and other functions. Working in a dental practice is a fast-paced and exciting work environment – there’s never a dull moment!
  • Perfect for a People Person: Dental assistants meet and work with lots of different people, from all cultures and backgrounds. They are also surrounded by a team that often feels like a family.
  • Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Most dental offices are calm, professional environments. While there may be stressful moments, the dental assistant is there to keep the team and the office running smoothly, providing support in a variety of capacities to assure the best experience for patients.
  • You’re There to Help: If helping others gives you satisfaction, being a dental assistant will give you all the feels. You’re there to put patients at ease, help your team and make a positive impact on everyone from patients to co-workers. The dental community also provides many opportunities to give back – through community dental clinics, philanthropic efforts and more.
  • Making People Smile: At the end of the day, dental professionals take pride in putting patients first and giving them a reason to smile – the best reward of all. Ask any dental assistant about the best part of their job and chances are you’ll hear a wonderful story about making a positive impact on patients’ lives.


The Smile Crew CA is a dental assistant recruitment campaign powered by the California Dental Association and the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation. The goal of the campaign is to bring awareness to the dental assisting profession and job opportunities throughout California.

Training Programs

Below is information on Training Programs. If you don't see a program in your area, complete the form above to receive more information about upcoming training programs.



Southern California

June 27 – August 01

San Diego
  • - 15 hours per week of in-classroom instruction
  • - 20 hours per week of student-led and online instruction
  • - Weekly on-the-job training in a dental office outside of regular working hours
  • - Interview preparation
  • - Onboarding and offboarding assistance
  • - A certificate of completion

Northern California

Northern California

More information coming soon.