Getting certified as a dental assistant can be a great investment that could put you on the track to a viable career — in fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth from 2022–2032, faster than the national average! And with training that takes a relatively short amount of time at a comparatively low cost, you can start without having to worry about making a huge investment. Even so, for many people, that cost might still be too steep to pay upfront. So, here are a few options if you’re wondering how to pay for dental assistant school.
Scholarships and grants
The first step you’ll want to take as you start the enrollment process is to look into scholarship options. Check your school’s website or talk to an admissions rep to learn about available scholarships and grants. In many occasions, schools will have their own in-house scholarships open to their students, or you might be able to find third-party ones that you can use for tuition or living expenses — for example, CampusReel maintains a list of available scholarships for aspiring dental assistant students!
Veteran benefits — GI Bill
If you’re a veteran, or eligible for veteran benefits, you may be able to pay for your dental assistant certification through the GI Bill®, an education grant available to veterans and military personnel. If you’re eligible, the GI Bill may be able to cover your full tuition. Apply on the VA website or ask your school for more information about qualification!
“GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official US government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
Out of pocket upfront
Once you’ve looked into all available scholarship and grant opportunities, paying out of pocket might be your next best option — as long as you have enough money saved up to cover the tuition, any books and supplies you might need during the program, as well as living expenses such as rent and groceries. While this method does have 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 making monthly payments!
Interest-free recurring payment plans
For those who have explored all scholarships and are still looking for how to pay for dental assistant school, some programs offer payment plan options to allow students to make several smaller payments over the duration of the program. This lessens the upfront cost, and it includes no credit check or interest — so ultimately, you’ll end up paying less than you would with a loan. However, payments also typically span a much shorter period of time than they would be with a loan, so though you’ll pay less overall, your monthly payments will be higher.
A student loan can be a good option for students who need to make the smallest monthly payments, rather than larger payments or all upfront. While not all schools offer federal student loans, private student loans might still be available. Depending on the loan terms available for your course, you may have the option of full deferral, interest-only deferral, or immediate full repayment.
Some things you’ll want to keep in mind, though, are that most loans come with an interest rate, so you’ll likely end up paying more than the original tuition amount. Your credit report will also be pulled, so your credit score may be impacted — although, Climb only performs a hard credit pull once a loan is funded, so you can submit an application with no impact to your credit score!* At the end of the day, it’s important to consider what works best for your unique situation: smaller monthly payments while paying more overall, or higher monthly payments while paying less overall.
*Climb performs a “soft” credit pull to evaluate eligibility, but this soft credit check will not affect your credit score. A hard credit pull is only performed once the loan is accepted and funded.