Academic Calendar 2023/24

Health Sciences

Certified Dental Assistant certificate

Certified Dental Assistants are essential members of the dental health care team, working toward the common goal of providing quality oral care for dental clients. Individuals who have a passion for helping people, enjoy working with their hands, and are team players are most likely to be successful and will find this to be a rewarding career.

The 10-month (September–June) Certified Dental Assistant certificate program is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary for employment as a certified dental assistant. This program combines lectures and clinical practice in preparation for a career in private practice, dental clinics, and other public health facilities. Students gain extensive clinical experience throughout the program. In addition to working at the UFV Dental Clinic, the curriculum includes two practica, which provide full-time experience in a dental office.

Because this program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, graduates are eligible to write the National Board Exam and then register with the B.C. College of Oral Health Professionals.

Entrance requirements

The Certified Dental Assistant program has limited entry and not all academically qualified applicants are admitted. For more information see the Basis for admission decision section below.

  1. B.C. secondary school graduation or equivalent, and a minimum grade of C in the following two courses: (English Studies 12, English First Peoples 12, ENGL 099, or ENGL 091) and (Anatomy and Physiology 12, Biology 12, BIO 093, or BIO 111).

    Note: Students may also present English 12, English Literature 12, English 12 First Peoples, AP English, IB English A (standard level or higher level), or out-of-province equivalent.

  2. Students registering in post-secondary level courses will be required to meet the English language proficiency requirement. For details on how this requirement may be met, see the English language proficiency requirement section of the calendar.
  3. Attendance at a program information session is highly recommend for all applicants. At this time applicants will be provided with an overview of the program. At the information session, applicants will also be required to write an application essay.
  4. A work reference using the confidential reference form available at and a personal reference from non-relatives.
  5. A health assessment indicating fitness to practice. Health questionnaire forms will be included in the letter of notification regarding an information session. Completed forms should be brought to the interview or submitted prior to interview.
  6. Dental office observation form signed by a dentist, confirming two full days spent in a dental office observing office routine and dental procedures. Applicants are encouraged to complete and submit this document prior to the interview.
  7. A satisfactory interview with the program faculty, who will assess applicants':
    • Knowledge of and motivation towards a career as a dental assistant;
    • Financial preparation;
    • Communication skills;
    • Experience with patients in the health-care field as a volunteer and/or employee; and
    • Experience in working with the public.

Other information

The following is required of admitted students:

  1. Completion of an immunization program. Immunization forms will be included with the letter of acceptance.
  2. A certificate of dental oral health. A form to be signed by the dentist will be included with the letter of acceptance.
  3. Successful completion of a security clearance check. Upon admission to the CDA program, and in accordance with the B.C. Government's Criminal Records Review Act, UFV requires all students who participate in a practicum to pass a criminal record check through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. For clarification and more details, please visit the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's website. Criminal record check forms will be provided upon admission to the program.
  4. Current Standard First Aid with CPR-C or Emergency First Aid with CPR-C or CPR-HCP. Must be completed or current prior to start of the winter semester. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this prior to starting the program.

Students who do not meet these requirements might consider Qualifying Studies.

When to apply

Applications open on October 1. Applications should be received by January 31 for the Fall intake. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year until seats are filled. See Continuous application process for more information.

How to apply

  1. Apply online at and submit the following documents to the Office of the Registrar:
    • Proof of B.C. secondary school graduation or equivalent.
    • Official transcripts (or interim transcripts) from all post-secondary institutions attended (excluding UFV) showing grade/course achievement as per entrance requirements. To be considered official, transcripts must be sent directly to UFV from the originating institution; see the Transfer Credit section for details.
    • Official transcripts from secondary schools attended. For students currently in Grade 12, final grades are required by August 3.
    • CDA program application, available at
    Once these documents have been received by the Office of the Registrar, an application date will be recorded and the application will be forwarded to the Certified Dental Assistant program.

    Additional documents required for a complete application (to be submitted to the School of Health Studies, Chilliwack campus):

    • Work reference letter using confidential reference form available at
    • Personal reference letter.
    • Health assessment form (completed and signed).
    • Dental oral health certificate form.
    • Dental office observation form.

    Note: Applicants whose prerequisites are completed will have first priority for the seats available. Those with incomplete prerequisites decrease their chances of being accepted into the program.

  2. An interview with program faculty is required.
  3. Applicants will be accepted based on points achieved on the applicant rating form.
  4. Applicants will be notified in writing (via email) regarding their acceptance. Upon admission to the program, applicants will be provided with registration information. A deposit is required by a specified date in order to reserve a seat in the program. This money will be applied toward tuition fees. If applicants do not register for courses and pay course deposits, their place will be given to the next person on the program waiting list and they must reapply to the program.

Basis for admission decision

Students will be rated based on the points achieved on the applicant rating form. Points will be given for academic performance on prerequisite courses, work experience, personal essay, reference(s), and personal interview.

The requirements will be rated as follows:

  1. Academic prerequisites: The higher the applicant GPA on required academic prerequisites, the more points awarded.
  2. Work experience: Points will be allocated for dental office/healthcare field experience (employee/volunteer) and for experience working with the public. Points are awarded according to the nature and duration of the experience.
  3. Letter of reference: Applicants will be awarded points depending on the content of their letter of reference (confidential reference form is available at
  4. Application essay: All applicants will be given points on the basis of meeting the criteria and the writing skill demonstrated.
  5. Interview: Applicants will be given points related to their knowledge of dental assisting, organizational skills, planning of financial aspects, management of commitments, communication skills, knowledge of own learning, and problem-solving skills. The interview is intended to help determine readiness to enter the CDA program.

Applicants with the highest number of points will be given priority for program seats.

Fees and additional costs

See the Fees and Other Costs section.

The CDA program has special fees. Please see for program-specific fees.

Students should be prepared to meet other additional costs of approximately $2,000. This includes the purchase of uniforms, surgical caps, lab coats, shoes, protective eyewear, textbooks, workbooks, and lab fee supplies. Students should also be prepared for the additional cost to complete the CPR Level C certification.

Requirement — Certified Dental Assistant (CDA)

Upon completion of the UFV Certified Dental Assistant certificate program, and prior to practising as a Certified Dental Assistant, students will need to write the National Dental Assisting Board Examination and will need to register with and be licensed by the B.C. College of Oral Health Professionals. Additional fees will be assessed by these bodies.

Financial aid

UFV has a comprehensive financial assistance program including scholarships, loans, and bursaries. Details are available from Financial Aid and Awards.


Uniforms, surgical caps, duty shoes, name tags, lab coats, gloves, masks, face shields, and safety glasses are required during daily clinic sessions. Neatness and good grooming are essential at all times.

Dates and location

The Certified Dental Assistant certificate is 10 months in duration and is completed in a full-time capacity. All courses are taught at the Health Sciences centre at the Chilliwack campus. Format includes self-directed, independent study, group work, lectures, and blended course delivery. Demonstrations and/or online tutorial videos are given before practical sessions. Classes are held Monday to Friday, and there are approximately two hours of homework every evening.

Program outline

Course Title Credits
DENT 130 Dental Professionalism 1.5
DENT 131 Basic Dental Assisting 3
DENT 132 Anatomy and Physiology of the Head and Neck 3
DENT 133 Dental Office Emergencies 1
DENT 134 Preventive Dentistry 2.5
DENT 135 Dental Radiography 2.5
DENT 136 Restorative Assisting 1.5
DENT 137 Lab Procedures and Prosthodontics 1.5
DENT 138 Dental Practicum I 2.5
DENT 140 Dental Specialties 4
DENT 141 Community Dental Health and Nutrition 1
DENT 142 Dental Reception 1.5
DENT 143 Patient Care Procedures 1
DENT 144 Applied Dental Sciences 2.5
DENT 148 Dental Practicum II 2.5
DENT 150 Clinical Dental Assisting 4
DENT 154 Clinical Dental Assisting II 2
DENT 162 Clinical Patient Care 2.5

Note: In addition to the above courses, students must have completed a valid Basic Rescuer — CPR (Level C) course prior to the second term (Winter) of the program.

Program continuance

To maintain status as a CDA program student and to continue in the program, students must achieve a minimum grade of B- in each required course. Students may be asked to leave the program prior to completion if they are not consistently obtaining the B- grade.

Students on Academic Warning or Academic Probation are limited to registering in 10 credits. For further details, see the Academic standing and undergraduate continuance section of the academic calendar. Academic standing is governed by UFV's Undergraduate Continuance policy (92).


The following grading system is used for the Certified Dental Assistant program, as per UFV's Grading System policy (101).

Letter grade Percentage equivalent
A+ 90–100
A 85–89
A- 80–84
B+ 77–79
B 73–76
B- (70% program pass rate requirement) 70–72

Graduation requirements

Students are responsible for ensuring they are eligible to graduate. To be eligible to graduate, students must have completed the Certified Dental Assistant program with a minimum program GPA (PGPA) of 2.67 (B- or 70%) calculated on all courses taken at UFV used to meet program requirements.

Course listings

For complete details on courses see the course descriptions section.

Current Students