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How to Apply: Certified Dental Assisting

FAQ

FAQ

Can I turn in my application in person?

I live out of town. Can I mail my application?

I applied last year, can I use my worksheet from last years’ application, if I have not taken more coursework?

  • Yes. If you choose not to retake the HESI A2 Exam, then you can upload the worksheet from last years’ application with the other required documents through the online submission form.

When filling out the application, I’m not able to add my signature to the bottom line.

  • If you are using Google Chrome, this is a common problem. Try opening the document with Internet Explorer or a different browser.

Where do I submit my immunization records?

  • You do not submit immunization records with your application. These are only required AFTER you have been offered a position in the program.

In the past, I was charged with a criminal offense. Can I still apply to the program?

  • You should visit the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners website and complete a criminal history evaluation request. The state will review your background and let you know if your criminal history will affect your ability to be licensed by the state of Texas.

I have been a TJC student in the past; do I still have to apply to the college again?

  • Yes, IF it has been more than 2 semesters since you were last enrolled in classes at TJC, you will need to apply again, online.

Will you accept letters of recommendation?

  • No.

I am a licensed RDA. Will I receive extra points for this?

  • No

I have not finished taking some of the general education courses, can I still apply?

  • Yes, you are allowed to complete the general education requirements after you have been accepted. HOWEVER, these courses have points value and due to the competitive nature of the program, these points can be important in making you a competitive applicant. Completion of the general education courses prior to applying is recommended.

How do I know if I’m an “in-district” resident?

  • You will need to contact the admissions office to find out your residency status. We will use the status in TJC’s official records to grant the extra point for “in-district” status. Find the TJC district map here.

I applied last year and submitted all of my transcripts from other colleges. Do I need to submit them again?

  • Only if you have taken additional coursework since you last applied. If no additional coursework was taken, you do not need to resubmit official transcripts.

I withdrew from a different health science program, but I wasn’t dismissed. Do I still need to submit the Verification of Good Standing form?

  • Yes. Regardless of the reason you did not complete it, you still must submit the form to be eligible to apply.

Can I use my HESI scores if I applied with Dental Hygiene and didn’t get in?

  • Yes, you can use the HESI scores you submitted for Dental Hygiene. Exam scores are good for two application periods which means any HESI Exam grade will be accepted for the application period beginning June 16, 2020, and ending June 15, 2022.

Do I have to wait until the start of the application period to take the HESI Exam?

  • No, the HESI exam can be taken at any time. You will need to go online to tjctesting.setmore.com to schedule an appointment to take the exam. Make sure you select Certified Dental Assisting for your testing option

How do I schedule a time to take the HESI Exam?

  • You will need to go online to tjctesting.setmore.com to schedule an appointment to take the exam. Make sure you select Certified Dental Assisting for your testing option.

I took the HESI exam sometime last year. Are my scores still good?

  • For the current application period (April 15, 2022, to June 15, 2022) your exam scores must be dated June 16, 2020, or later to qualify for submission.

I turned in my HESI test with last year’s application. Do you still have those test scores on file?

  • No. You will need to submit all HESI test scores (dated June 16, 2020, or later) in order to have your application processed. 

Is there a study review for the HESI Test?

  • Yes, there are several resources to help you study for this exam.

Free online:

Or (Suggestions ONLY, you are not required to purchase)

  • HESI A2 Study Guide 2021 & 2022 (ISBN-13: 978-1628459876)
  • Or any HESI A2 guide book that reviews Math, Reading, Vocabulary/General Knowledge, and Anatomy/Physiology.

How much does it cost to take the HESI Test?

  • The testing center sets the cost of the exam.  Visit the TJC testing center website for current pricing.

What is a “passing grade” on the HESI Test?

  • There is no “passing grade” for the HESI Test. You will be given a Test Sheet once you have completed your exam or reached your time limit. You will enter these scores on the Admissions Worksheet and it will automatically be converted to points.

Do I have to be a TJC student and have my “A” number to take the HESI?

  • Yes, it is required.

How do I get points?

  • The CDA Program is a Selective Admissions Program, which means we only accept 24 students.  Applicants are awarded points based on their scores on the Admissions Worksheet. If you have successfully completed any of the bonus classes mentioned below, these points will be added as well. One additional point will be given for a science course completed at TJC, however, the science course must have been completed in or after 2017. If you are classified as “in-district”, you will receive 2 extra points.

Are there prerequisites to apply to the CDA Program?

  • No. You only need to be a TJC student and have a cumulative 2.0 GPA. You are, however, required to take the HESI A2 Version 1 Exam to be an applicant. Students are encouraged to take the following courses to gain extra points on their application:
    •  BIOL 2404, (Intro to A&P) recommended
    • BIOL 2401 or BIOL 2402 (A&P) may be substituted for BIOL 2401 (Bonus points will be determined by one course with the highest grade)
    • HPRS 1201 (Intro to Health Professions) AND HPRS 1105 (Essentials of Medical Law Ethics for Health Professionals)

*One additional point will be given for a science course completed at TJC. Science courses must have been completed in or after 2017.

How are the applicants selected?

  • The total points are ranked from highest to lowest. The top-ranking 24 applicants will be selected for conditional placement. If one of the 24 declines the offer, then the highest-ranking alternate applicant will be selected.

I have just graduated from high school, but don’t have my official transcript yet, can I still apply to the Program?

  • Only if you can produce an unofficial transcript to prove eligibility for the HESI, showing a cumulative 2.0 GPA on the contingency that you provide an official transcript to the Registrar’s Office before the application deadline.

When and how will I know if I’m selected or not?

  • You will receive an email (via TJC email) the week after the deadline of 6/15/22 congratulating you with important dates and enrollment guidelines if you are selected. You will have a limited time to respond back with the signed confirmation agreement form. Failure to submit the required confirmation agreement and required forms within the designated time frame will result in forfeiture of your position in the program. Any spaces vacated by forfeiture or health reasons will be filled from the alternate list in ranking order.
  • If you are offered a position and choose to accept it, you will receive information via your TJC student email regarding the following mandatory requirements:
    • CastleBranch online Tracker-You will need to purchase and create an account with them in order to download your immunization records and get instructions for your drug screen and background check.
    • The first Orientation session will be held in July to welcome you into the Program. You will receive a packet discussing policies and procedures, course information, student information survey, fall schedule, registration instructions, supplies, and instrument costs.
    • BLS Training will be held, for students that do not have a current training certificate with the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross, with an expiration date on or after September 2023, at an appointed date and time.
    • The second Orientation session will be held in August where you will receive your program supplies and locker assignments.

What is the difference between the Certified Dental Assisting Program (CDA) at Rogers Nursing and Health Science building (RNHS) and the Dental Assistant Course with Externship (DA) at West Campus?

  • CDA Program: This is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) which is very important in the dental field. You will meet the education and experience requirements established by the Dental Assistant National Board (DANB). Once the program is completed, you will have earned a level 1 certificate from TJC which ensures hands-on training in all aspects of dentistry and be eligible to sit for the DANB exam. Upon successful completion of the DANB exam, you will have earned a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). You will be required to apply for your Registered Dental Assisting (RDA) within the year after earning your CDA in the state where you plan to practice.
  • DA Course: This is not accredited by CODA. It is a short-term program (14 weeks) You will not receive college credit, nor be eligible for financial aid with the DA course.   After successful completion of the course, you will receive a letter of completion. You will take an exam through the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) to become registered in the State of Texas.

How much is the CDA Program compared to the DA Course?

  • CDA Program: The CDA Programs' approximate cost is between $7,600 – $10,135, depending on your district status. This cost includes all three semesters of your tuition and fees, dental supplies/instruments, textbooks, scrub patches, scrubs, BLS course, HESI Exit Exam in the Spring, OSHA Training course, Nitrous Oxide Monitoring course, licensure cost, graduation pin, DANB exam and CastleBranch, where you will upload required documentation for your immunization records, drug and background screening. Financial Aid is available to those who are eligible. Visit: TJC Cost Comparison
  • DA Course: The out-of-pocket cost for the program itself is approximately $2,300 which includes your textbooks, materials and BLS certification course, and relevant material necessary to prepare for the Registered Dental Assisting exam offered throughout the State of Texas. You will also be required to pay out of pocket for your Criminal Background Check, RDA Exam ($195), Nitrous Oxide Monitoring Course ($230), and Application of Pit and Fissure Sealants course ($325).

Is Financial Aid available for the CDA Program compared to the DA Course?

  • CDA Program: Since the CDA program is a full-time program for college credit, financial aid is available for those who are eligible. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) gives you access to grants, loans and work-study jobs that can help you fund your education. Visit http://StudentAid.gov/FAFSA to learn more. You also have the option to apply for scholarships. Visit https://tjc.academicworks.com.
  • DA Course: There is no financial aid available for the DA course at West Campus because it is a continuing education course, so you will be paying out of pocket for all expenses. There is no option to apply for loans, grants or scholarships unless you are an authorized Texas Veteran, then you can utilize your Hazelwood benefits for the program fee, but it Will NOT pay for the instructional material.

What is the time frame for the CDA Program compared to the DA Course?

  • CDA Program: You will spend 11 months, (Fall, Spring & Summer) in the CDA program where you will earn 30 hours of college credit. Typically, you go from Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, however, the days and hours can vary depending upon the course structure and professor. You will be required to volunteer one Saturday in the fall, spring, and summer for the Outreach Program we host at RNHS. In the spring, you will be assigned to one of our dentist offices 3 days a week for 8 weeks and 2 days a week for 10 weeks in the summer as well as attending classes on your off days during the week. 
  • You will receive 300 hours of hands-on experience chairside at an assigned partner office as well as earn experience in the dental material lab and dental clinic. You will be trained in the application of Pit & Fissure Sealants and Coronal Polishing which will provide eligibility with the State Board of Dental Examiners to perform these functions in a private practice setting upon graduation from the Certified Dental Assisting Program.
  • DA Course: This course will be approximately 14 weeks of evening courses, Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00 pm-9:30 pm and includes 6 Saturdays, 9:00 am-3:30 pm with no college credit. This course covers areas and topics exposing you to both classroom and hands-on instructions. Additionally, this course includes a 40-hour clinical externship opportunity for students who successfully complete the 128-hour course.

Interested in applying to the Dental Hygiene Program after the CDA Program?

A student who is enrolled in the Certified Dental Assisting program in the spring semester, and who is interested in applying to the AAS Dental Hygiene program will receive 2 admission points toward the Dental Hygiene application.


A student who completes the Certified Dental Assisting program, passes all sections of the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exam and obtains a CDA license will receive 4 admission points toward the Dental Hygiene application. This accomplishment also qualifies a student who is accepted in the TJC AAS Dental Hygiene program to omit two dental hygiene courses by replacing them with a Credit by Exam (DANB). This option only applies IF the student has graduated from the CDA program within the last two years (2020 or after). The AAS Dental Hygiene courses that may be replaced by Credit by Exam are listed below:

  • DHYG 1304-Dental Radiology
  • DHYG 1219-Dental Materials

Students who earned a CDA but did not graduate from the TJC CDA Program, in 2020 or later, will be required to take the two above-mentioned DHYG courses.