For many people, one of the biggest obstacles to advancing their education can be tuition. And even though enrolling in a vocational school (such as a dental assisting certification program) can often provide a career-building education at a comparatively low price tag, making that initial investment can still be daunting. So, how much does dental assistant school cost, and what are some options for how to pay for it? Below, we have a breakdown of paying for your training.
Dental assistant school cost
While the cost of an associate’s degree in dental assisting typically ranges from $6,000–30,000, a dental assistant diploma or certification only costs on average between $3,000–15,000 and can be found at many technical schools and community colleges. For both of these programs, however, you’ll also want to consider additional costs that may be required, such as:
- Registration fees
- Certification exam fees
- Lab fees
- Books and supplies
Whether you attend a degree program or a diploma program will also affect how much time you’ll ultimately invest. For example, an associate’s degree takes two years to complete — on the other hand, a certificate program takes considerably less at less than 12 months. Length can also be impacted by other factors such as whether you’re in a full-time or part-time program, and whether you’re pursuing any additional specializations.
While it takes 2 years to get an associate's degree,
a diploma program typically takes less than 12 months!
How can I pay for dental assistant training?
Upfront, in full
If you have enough money saved up to cover your program’s tuition, any necessary supplies, and living expenses such as rent and groceries, paying out of pocket could be your best option. While this method does require the highest upfront cost, you won’t owe any money in interest, there’s no credit check, and you won’t have to worry about remembering to make monthly payments. Since dental assistant programs can cost up to $15,000 for a certification and $30,000 for a degree, look around to see if there are any scholarships or grants available that can help ease the tuition amount!
You may also want to look into programs, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), that are sponsored by the government to provide grants and scholarships for technical schools. With these, you may be able to cover the partial or full tuition amount for your dental assistant course! To find out if these are available for your program, you’ll need to contact your school directly.
Interest-free recurring payments
For those who are unable to pay the full tuition cost upfront and aren’t using a scholarship or grant, some schools also may offer payment plan, or tuition-free recurring payment, options. This allows students to make several smaller payments over the duration of the program, in order to lessen the upfront cost. It includes no credit check and no interest — so you’ll ultimately pay less than you would with a loan. However, payments are spread over a much shorter period of time than other financing options such as loans. So although you’ll pay less overall, your monthly payments will be higher.
A student loan can be a good choice for students who need to make the smallest monthly payments, rather than larger payments or all upfront. While not all dental assistant schools offer federal student loans, private student loans might still be available. Depending on the loan terms available for your program, you may have the option of full deferral, interest-only deferral, or immediate full repayment.
Climb partners with several dental assistant programs for financing, and we only perform a hard credit pull once a loan is funded. So, you can submit an application to check out our options with no impact to your credit score!
There are some things you’ll want to keep in mind, though. Most loans come with an interest rate, which means you’ll ultimately end up paying more than the original tuition amount. And since your credit report will be pulled, your credit score may be impacted. At the end of the day, you’ll need to consider what works best for your situation — smaller monthly payments while paying more overall, or higher monthly payments while paying less overall.