Best Dental Assistant Schools in New Jersey – 2023

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Dental assistants in New Jersey operate under a broad scope of practice mandate. So long as they work under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist, they can perform many clinical tasks. They can take oral impressions, they can remove excess cement from crowns, and they can provide prophylactic and preventative measures such as the application of sealants and fluorides. For responsibilities such as taking dental X-rays that fall under the aegis of “expanded functions,” however, dental assistants in the Garden State will need to seek additional certifications. Dental assisting promises a comfortable salary and the opportunity to help others. To help you get started on this health care career track, we’ve ranked the best dental assistant schools in New Jersey.

What Courses will I be Taking During my Dental Assistant Training?

All dental assistant programs in NJ have academic, laboratory and clinical components. The specific nature of that mix, though, will vary according to whether you’re pursuing a diploma or an associate degree.

Diploma programs focus on preparing you to hit the ground running. Your coursework will concentrate on the specific skills you’ll be using in your field. You’ll take classes in biodental science, dental pharmacology and dental materials. You’ll be taught chair-side assisting skills in your clinical labs, and you’ll go on to hone those skills through clinical rotations.

Associate degree programs will teach you these skills as well in your second year, but your first year is likely to be devoted to acquiring a theoretical knowledge base. Courses are likely to include biology, physiology and oral anatomy.

Dental Assistant Program Length & Cost in New Jersey

Two types of training programs are available to aspiring dental assistants in the Garden State: certificate/diploma programs and associate degree programs. The former takes anywhere between 6 and 15 months to complete and will cost you between $2,670 (if you attend a community college) and $31,170 (if you attend a technical college.) A two-year associate degree will set you back anywhere from $7,800 (at a community college) to $47,720 (at a tech college.)

Type of Program Length Cost
Certificate / Diploma6 – 15 Months$2,670 - $31,170
Associate Degree2 Years$7,800 - $47,720


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 8 best dental assistant programs in New Jersey. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1. Fortis Institute, Wayne & Lawrenceville

2. Camden County College, Blackwood

Associate Degree:

3. Ocean County Vocational Technical School, Toms River

4. American Institute, Clifton, Somerset, & Toms River

5. Brookdale Community College, Lincroft

6. Harris School of Business, Voorhees

7. Central Career Institute LLC, South Plainfield

8. Cape May County Technical Institute, Cape May Court House


Dental Assistant Career Information For New Jersey - 2023

How Many Dental Assistants are Currently Employed in NJ?


Where are Dental Assistants Currently Working in New Jersey?

Since dental assistants in New Jersey are required to work under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist, more than 8,680 of them are employed in dental practices. The remaining 340 dental hygienists in the Garden State work either for the government or in medical doctors’ offices.

For dental assistants who work in dentists’ offices, responsibilities are likely to vary according to the type of practice they’re employed by. In a solo practice, dental assistants may be generalists, doing everything from chair-side assisting to administrative office tasks. In a group practice that employs several dental assistants, each assistant may develop a specialty. One assistant may be the go-to for teaching patients the right ways to perform oral hygiene routines at home, for example, while another may be the person patients turn to with their insurance questions.

IndustryNumber of Dental Assistants
Offices of Dentists8,680
Outpatient Care Centers170
Offices of Physicians170

What is the Average Salary of a Dental Assistant in New Jersey?

The average dental assistant salary in New Jersey is $46,410. There’s quite a bit of competition for experienced dental assistants, particularly among dental practices that are close to New York City, so benefit packages are likely to be good for assistants who work 36 or more hours a week.

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)$17.17$2,980$35,710
1-4 years$18.11$3,140$37,660
5-9 years$22.25$3,860$46,290
10-19 years$24.11$4,180$50,140
20 years or more$29.38$5,090$61,110
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Dental Assistant Average Salary Comparison: New Jersey vs. National

Dental assistants in the Garden State earn significantly higher salaries that dental assistants working in other parts of the U.S. This probably reflects the fact cities like Newark and Jersey City are essentially suburban outposts of New York City where having great teeth and a winning smile are professional assets.

New Jersey National Difference
Number %
$46,410 $44,710+$1,700+3.80%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook

The demand for dental assistants in the Garden State is only expected to grow 18.43% percent in the next ten years. This probably indicates that the market for dental assistants is pretty well saturated and that New Jersey has relatively few areas that are underserved so far as dentistry goes. Though pockets of poverty do exist, on the whole, New Jersey is an affluent state: Its $74,000 median income is the third highest in the nation. New Jersey residents can afford to spend money on health care services like dentistry that may not be reimbursed through medical insurance coverage.

Employment Employment Growth (2020-2030)
2020 2030 Number Percent
(Source: careeronestop)

Annual Job Openings

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

Metro Wise Employment & Salary Data

The largest number of dental assistants is employed in Trenton, which is New Jersey’s capital. More than one-quarter of Trenton’s residents live in poverty, so it’s not surprising that dental assistant salaries are markedly lower here than they are in other parts of the state. The demand for their services outside the professional corridor is probably low.

Atlantic City hasn’t recovered from the crash and burn of its casino industry. Only 190 dental assistants work in the Atlantic City-Hammonton metropolitan area, although they do earn a relatively high $45,900 annually on average.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Trenton 390 $22.14 $3,840 $46,060
Atlantic City-Hammonton 190 $22.07 $3,830 $45,900
Vineland-Bridgeton 120 $20.75 $3,600 $43,150
Ocean City 60 $22.03 $3,820 $45,830
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Dental Assistant Organizations & Associations in New Jersey

New Jersey Dental Assistants Association

The New Jersey Dental Assistants Association offers networking opportunities and sponsors lectures on subjects of professional interest.

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.