Best Dental Assistant Schools in Florida – 2024

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

If you are interested in working as a dental assistant in the state of Florida, completing a highly specialized program that results in a certificate, diploma, or degree will provide you with the best employment opportunities. Below, you will discover the best dental assistant schools in Florida. We have ranked these programs in order to help you get the best possible education in your home state. Ultimately, the better your education, the better your chances of succeeding in your chosen career.

5 Habits of Highly Successful Dental Assisting Students

The most successful students tend to display the following five habits:

1. Attention to detail. In order to be the best possible dental assisting student, it is imperative that you are observant and that you pay close attention to detail.

2. A strong work ethic. This program can be time-consuming, so you will need to have a strong work ethic to be successful.

3. A genuine drive to succeed. If you apply yourself throughout the course of your dental assistant program, and if you truly want to be the best you can be, you are far more likely to achieve your goals.

4. Organization and time management skills. You will take in a lot of information in a very short period, so it’s important that you learn how to stay organized and manage your time.

5. A desire to help others. By reminding yourself that you chose this career to help others across the state of FL, you will be more likely to apply yourself and succeed.

Dental Assistant Program Length & Cost in Florida

The amount you will pay and the length of time it takes you to complete your dental assistant program in FL will vary. If you opt to join a certificate or diploma program, it will take you a maximum of 15 months and cost up to $25,260. Conversely, an associate degree takes about two years and can cost as much as $38,670.

Type of Program Length Cost
Certificate / Diploma6 – 15 Months$2,160 - $25,260
Associate Degree2 Years$6,320 - $38,670


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 10 best dental assistant programs in Florida. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1) Florida National University, Hialeah

Florida National University’s dental assisting training is comprehensive, covering every learning curve required to excel in this allied dental career.

The certificate in dental assisting at FNU is a short, eight months program that prepares you to work as a dental assistant in a variety of settings. You can choose to complete this program, either in Spanish or English, depending on the location you intend to work. To graduate, you must complete an 18-credit curriculum that includes courses in an introduction to dental assisting, oral anatomy, dental materials, nutrition, dental radiology, dental office management, and clinical dental procedures. The coursework also includes courses that help you earn the EFDA and dental radiology certificates. This credential will add to the functions you can perform as a dental assistant. To hone professional skills, students are provided with 120 hours of clinical practice.

2) Santa Fe College, Gainesville

Santa Fe College has been offering quality dental assisting education since 1970. The college, through its modern dental clinic, provides students with a learning ground to gain valuable hands-on experience.

This dental assistant program in FL can be completed in 10 months. The coursework is designed in a manner to teach you the skills and knowledge required to perform routine dental assisting as well as expanded functions such as taking dental x-rays, applying fluoride and sealants, surgical dressings and cementing dental crowns and bridges. The program is rigorous in nature and requires a commitment of 35 to 37 hours per week, so it is recommended that you keep your personal and professional commitments to a minimum. Apart from practicing clinical skills at the college’s dental clinic, you will also work and gain experience at private dental offices in the surrounding areas and also at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. This gives you a wider exposure to this career.

3) Broward College, Fort Lauderdale

Broward College’s dental assisting education is comprehensive, meeting the needs of employers in the industry. With outstanding pass rates on the certification exam, Broward’s graduates are in demand across the region.

The college offers a dental assistant program that starts in June and takes 12 months to complete. The program is apt for entry into the dental field and also serves as a pathway to either an associate degree in dental assisting or dental hygiene. The college is highly selective in its admission policy and admits only 36 students each year. Once enrolled, you will attend full-time day classes and complete coursework that leads to a diploma in dental assisting and certificates in expanded functions and dental radiography. Graduates of the program are also eligible to take the dental assistant certification exam. For those seeking a broader knowledge base, can continue with their studies and earn an associate in dental assisting by completing additional courses in liberal arts.

4) Ultimate Medical Academy, Clearwater

Ultimate Medical Academy prepares students for a flourishing dental assisting career by offering solid support in terms of one-on-one tutoring, an externship and career services such as resume preparation guidance, interview help, and assistance in finding placements.

To become a dental assistant in FL you can choose either of the two options offered by the college. There is a certificate that takes 11 months and an associate degree that will take 20 months to complete. While the curriculum for the certificate (26 credits) mainly comprises of dental science and dental assistant courses, the associate coursework (62 credits) includes general education courses as well. Both the programs also include an expanded function training course that leads to an EFDA certificate.

5) Concorde Career Institute, Jacksonville, Miramar, Orlando & Tampa

At Concorde Career Institute, you will learn in an environment that provides for well-equipped labs, student resource centers, and modern classrooms. The faculty is experienced and strives towards helping dental assisting students to reach their individual career goals.

For a quick start into this career, Concorde offers an eight-month certificate program. The program teaches you the required skills and knowledge to work as an entry-level dental assistant. The curriculum includes courses in fundamental dental concepts, dental specialties, coronal polishing, dental procedures, dental materials, nutrition, and orthodontics. You will also go through an externship at a local dentist office towards the end of the coursework to enhance professional skills.

6) Indian River State College, Fort Pierce

Indian River State’s commitment towards excellent dental assisting training is apparent from the performance of its graduates on the certification exam. Equipped with professional competence, graduates are working in varied settings across the state.

This Dental Assisting Technology Management diploma offered by the college can be completed in about 20 months. You must complete 50 credit hours in dental science and dental assistant courses. You will also earn an EFDA certificate that allows you to perform expanded functions and explore wider career avenues. Additionally, the college offers an associate degree in Dental Assisting Technology Management that requires completion of 70 credit hours and prepares you for management and faculty positions.

7) Gulf Coast State College, Panama City

Gulf Coast State College is equipped with a dental clinic that serves the local community and provides students an opportunity to work under licensed dental professionals.

The dental assistant program offered by the college is a certificate of 10 months. With a full-time schedule, the college delivers the coursework through didactic sessions, lab, and clinical training. To graduate, you must complete 47 credit hours in courses that include dental nutrition, dental pharmacology, oral pathology, dental office management, anatomy of the head and neck, oral anatomy, dental materials, dental radiology, human anatomy, communication and a lab and theory course, teaching you expanded functions of a dental assistant. You must score a minimum grade “C” in all the courses to earn your certificate.

8) Eastern Florida State College, Cocoa

Eastern Florida State College provides a h3 footing to dental assisting aspirants. With the rigorous training that they receive, most students are known to find jobs even before they graduate.

The college offers a diploma with two schedule options, a regular day program and an outreach program. While the 15-month, regular day program offers all classes on-campus during the day, the 16-month outreach offers all theory classes online and on-campus lab training, in the evenings. This flexibility works great for students with added responsibilities. Before beginning the 50 credit coursework, the college requires you to complete two general education courses in an introduction to healthcare and anatomy and physiology. After you complete the entire coursework, you will receive a dental assistant diploma and certificate in expanded dental assistant functions. Students looking to get a more rounded education can go on to pursue an associate degree by completing additional coursework of 20 credits in liberal arts courses.

9) Compu-Med Vocational Careers Corp, Hialeah

Compu-Med Vocational Careers Corp offers job-oriented and affordable dental assisting education. Students are taught by a faculty who bring their professional work experiences to the classroom.

The certificate offered by the college is a 45-week course. Placing significant impetus on experiential learning, towards the end of the coursework you will go through a 180 clock hours of externship. This allows you to put the newly acquired skills to practice in a clinical setting. The curriculum includes a range of topics from computer skills and office procedure to dental ethics and law, from dental anatomy to infection control and from dental materials to dental radiology. You will also complete a course in expanded dental assistant function, a requirement for dental assisting practice in Florida.

10) Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee

Tallahassee Community College’s dental assistant graduates are known to possess job-ready skills and professional competence with the hands-on training that they go through at various community dental clinics.

This dental assistant school in Florida offers a diploma in dental assisting that requires completion of 50 credit hours. By completing this coursework, you will be prepared to take the national certification exam. To be eligible for this program, you must earn a high school GPA of at least 2.0 and must complete biology and chemistry courses in high school. You will take 12 months to complete this program that trains you in performing chairside assisting functions such as administration of anesthesia, taking dental x-rays, managing the dental clinic, patient record keeping and expanded functions that are allowed by the Florida Board of Dentistry.


Dental Assistant Career Information For Florida - 2024

How Many Dental Assistants are Currently Employed in FL?


Where do Dental Assistants Work in Florida?

After completing your program, you will find that there are numerous types of facilities in FL with open dental assistant positions. Dentists’ offices employ the largest number at 20,720 total, while the government and physicians’ offices both employ a very small percentage of the state’s dental assistants at 400 and 400 respectively.

In all these settings, dental assistants in this state provide numerous important support services. They might answer phones and do clerical work, they might handle billing and charting, and they might even assist dentists or doctors with in-office procedures. In many cases, you might find yourself doing all of these things throughout the course of the day depending on the patient load.

IndustryNumber of Dental Assistants
Offices of Dentists20,720
Outpatient Care Centers400
Offices of Physicians400

What is the Average Salary of a Dental Assistant in Florida?

The average dental assistant salary in Florida is $20.50 an hour, which is the same as $3,550 a month or $42,650 a year. There are numerous things that will affect the amount of money you earn, and of these, your level of education and experience are most important. You will earn more with an associate degree than with a certificate or diploma, for example, and as you gain more experience in the field, your salary can increase substantially. It is also worth noting that dental assistants who work in more affluent urban areas earn significantly higher salaries, too.

Type Salary
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Salary Based on Years of Experience

Years of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
Less than 1 year (Starting) $17.29 $3,000 $35,960
1-4 years $17.81 $3,090 $37,040
5-9 years $20.35 $3,530 $42,330
10-19 years $22.34 $3,870 $46,460
20 years or more $24.39 $4,230 $50,740
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Dental Assistant Average Salary Comparison: Florida vs. National

Florida’s average dental assistant salary is only very slightly less than the national average. Dental assistants across the country earn $44,710 a year on average; in FL, they earn $42,650, or $2,060 less than the average.

Florida National Difference
Number %
$42,650 $44,710-$2,060-4.61%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook

Many people choose to work as dental assistants in Florida because of the solid job outlook and security. As of 2020, there were 20,900 people working in this support role across the state, and by 2030, it is estimated that this number will climb to 27,530 at 31.72% increase.

The reasons for this massive employment growth across FL are many. First and foremost, Florida’s population is always growing since it is a popular destination for retirees. What’s more, because a large percentage of the population is elderly, they require more healthcare – including dental care. As dentists work to provide care to increasing patient loads, dental assistants provide the necessary support.

EmploymentEmployment Growth (2020-2030)
20202030 Number Percent
(Source: careeronestop)

Annual Job Openings

New Replacement Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
(Source: careeronestop)

Metro Wise Employment & Salary Data

One of the most important things to consider when you are thinking about a career as a dental assistant in the state of Florida is the location where you will work. This has a huge impact on your job availability and your salary. Just as an example, if you choose to work in the Sebring, you will earn an annual salary of just over $37,690. On the other hand, if you choose to work in the Naples metro, you will earn significantly more at just over $51,270 a year.

Though Daytona Beach is a well-known metro and tourist area, it is not as affluent as the Destin and Crestview metro. If you want to boost your salary, choose a metro known for paying its dental assistants well, but be sure to consider the availability of positions. Often, the higher the average salary in a specific Florida metro, the fewer the positions that are available.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 8,080 $19.72 $3,420 $41,020
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 3,010 $22.09 $3,830 $45,950
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford 2,910 $19.95 $3,460 $41,490
Jacksonville 1,540 $21.67 $3,760 $45,070
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton 930 $21.04 $3,650 $43,770
Cape Coral-Fort Myers 680 $21.88 $3,790 $45,510
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville 640 $21.10 $3,660 $43,880
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach 510 $19.23 $3,330 $40,000
Lakeland-Winter Haven 510 $20.00 $3,470 $41,610
Port St. Lucie 450 $21.26 $3,690 $44,230
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent 430 $19.58 $3,390 $40,730
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island 420 $24.65 $4,270 $51,270
Gainesville 340 $21.50 $3,730 $44,720
Tallahassee 310 $18.49 $3,210 $38,460
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin 290 $19.58 $3,390 $40,730
Ocala 280 $20.31 $3,520 $42,240
Panama City 180 $20.10 $3,480 $41,810
Punta Gorda 150 $19.96 $3,460 $41,510
Sebastian-Vero Beach 150 $20.78 $3,600 $43,220
The Villages 110 $19.82 $3,440 $41,230
Sebring 90 $18.12 $3,140 $37,690
Homosassa Springs 80 $18.77 $3,250 $39,040
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Dental Assistant Organizations & Associations in Florida

Florida Dental Assistants Association (FDAA)

The Florida Dental Assistants Association, or FDAA, exists to help promote the profession of dental assisting, provide advocacy services, and play a role in improving education and legislation as they relate to your career. With your student membership, you will gain access to free online continuing education, $50,000 in professional liability insurance, $2000 accidental death and dismemberment insurance, access to premium job searches, access to fellowship programs, and much more.

Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

Dental Assisting Schools in other States

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Georgia
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Washington