Dental Assistant Technical Standards
All individuals, including persons with
disabilities, who wish to participate in the
dental assistant program, must be able to
perform specific technical functions with or
without reasonable accommodation.
The following information outlines the requirements,
abilities, and behavioral characteristics necessary for admission, continued
participation, and completion of the dental assistant program at Harford
Community College (HCC). Students should consult with the non-credit allied
health coordinator to discuss any individual situation that may prevent his or
her ability to meet the admission criteria or the essential technical standards.
Requests for reasonable accommodations will be considered. It is ultimately the
student’s responsibility to meet these essential qualifications for
participation in the program.
In order to meet the requirements for admission,
perform the skills/duties of a dental assistant, and assume the responsibilities
of a direct care provider the student must:
Be at least 18 years old.
Possess a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED.
Review the program technical standards and ask questions if unfamiliar with
the required activities or functions.
Decide if he or she has any limitations that may restrict or interfere with
the satisfactory performance of any of the requirements.
Indicate willingness to practice direct care skills in a laboratory setting
by role-playing both the dental assistant and the patient/client.
Recognize the potential for exposure to blood borne pathogens, ionizing
radiation, and potentially hazardous materials.
Any individual who is unable or unwilling to meet
the following technical standards in the
classroom, lab, and clinical area will be unable
to participate in the program.
—Able to observe, monitor, and/or assess
patient/client, and read fine
print on monitors, devices, and gauges.
Read written instructions.
Acquire information from documents such as charts, radiographs, computer
images, and other modes of delivery.
Perceive fine detail, focus at several distances, and discern variations in
color, shape, and texture in order to differentiate abnormal from normal.
See and discriminate between varieties of visual equipment alarms.
Observe demonstrations and patient/clients close up and at a distance to learn
skills and gather patient/client data such as, but not limited to, observing a
facial expressions, appearance, and other nonverbal cues.
Hearing—Able to hear and understand faculty, staff, peers,
families, and healthcare workers; interpret conversations; and assess/monitor
Communicate and interact with faculty, staff, peers,
patient/clients, families, and
healthcare workers from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
Follow verbal instructions.
Detect and discriminate between sounds of normal conversation.
Hear sounds of a variety of equipment alarms.
Smell—Able to tolerate unpleasant odors related to infections, bad
Mobility—Possess the mobility and strength to move freely in the office
and support/move patient/clients.
Move quickly from place to place and perform direct care.
Assist and/or transfer patient/clients safely into a dental chair.
Modify patient/client’s position in a dental chair.
Stand/sit for extended periods and walk long distances.
Reach above shoulder height to manipulate equipment.
Reach below waist level to manipulate equipment.
Motor Skills (fine and gross)—Perform multiple motor tasks
simultaneously. Possess fine and gross motor skills sufficient to handle
equipment and provide safe and effective patient/client care; keen sense of touch;
awareness of self in relationship to surroundings, steady arm and hand movements
while manipulating objects or assisting the dentist and/or patient/clients.
Perform CPR and other basic life support functions.
Operate and manipulate equipment and instruments.
Operate both foot and hand controls simultaneously.
Position/move patient/clients safely.
Work in confined spaces while maintaining close, personal contact with
Chart/write in dental records and record patient/client data.
Tactile–Possess a keen sense of touch and the ability to interpret
tactile sensations to perceive information such as, but not limited to texture,
mobility, firmness, strength, and temperature.
Identify loose teeth, appliances, etc. by palpation.
Detect changes in skin/tissue temperature and integrity.
Communication—Able to communicate in English, both orally and in
writing, with faculty, staff, peers, patient/clients, families, and healthcare workers.
Speak English in a clear and easily understood manner.
Write in a manner that is legible.
Use correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Read and comprehend written material in English at a minimum of the 9th
Observe non-verbal communication.
Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities—Able to learn, measure, calculate,
reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and use data/information.
Interpret, problem solve, and demonstrate critical thinking.
Comprehend three-dimensional and spatial relationships.
Respond to emergencies by processing information consistently,
accurately, and quickly.
Possess the ability to self-evaluate.
Behavioral and Social Attributes—Possess the emotional health required
to use intellectual abilities fully such as exercising good judgment, promptly
completing all responsibilities associated with patient/client care, and developing
mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with faculty, staff, peers,
patient/clients, families, and healthcare workers.
Tolerate physically taxing workloads and function effectively under
Maintain composure while continuing to function
appropriately and professionally in myriad situations.
Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to
function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of
Demonstrate team playing, compassion, integrity, concern for others,
interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation during the education process.
Recognize emergencies and be able to take the appropriate action.
Accept constructive criticism and respond appropriately by modifying
Ethical Standards—Demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior.
Perform in an ethical manner in all dealings with faculty, staff, peers,
patient/clients, families, and healthcare workers regardless of race, color, religion,
sex, national origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, veteran,
sexual orientation, marital status, or any other status protected by law.
Legal Standards—Submit to a criminal background check and/or drug
testing as required by policies of the college, clinical facility, and/or
regulatory agency. The student is responsible for any cost.