Nandi Dove, Program Coordinator/Instructor
The Dental Assisting Technology (DAT) Program is a one-year certificate program designed to prepare the student for employment and advancement in dental assisting. Upon successful completion of this program, the student will have performed a variety of patient care, office and laboratory duties. The program includes lecture hours, lab hours, and supervised clinical experiences. In the clinical experiences, the student will assist the dentist at chairside in private offices, clinics, and state facilities, as applicable.
Mississippi Law requires health care professionals or Career Technical Education students enrolled in programs whose primary purpose is to prepare professionals to render patient care services to submit to criminal background checks and fingerprinting prior to beginning any clinical rotation in a licensed health care entity. If such fingerprinting or criminal background checks of the student disclose a felony conviction, guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere to a felony of possession or sale of drugs, murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, rape, sexual battery, sex offense listed in Section 45-33-23 (g), child abuse, arson, grand larceny, burglary, gratification of lust, aggravated assault or felonious abuse and/or battery of a vulnerable adult which has not been reversed on appeal or for which a pardon has not been granted, the student shall not be eligible to be admitted to such health program of study, nor will he/she be eligible to participate in clinical training in a licensed entity.
If a student currently enrolled in Dental Assisting is prohibited from participating in clinical experiences by any clinical affiliate of Meridian Community College (e.g., positive drug screen, gregarious behavior, violation of patient safety, non-compliance with the College’s “Student Behavior Code,” etc.), then the student will be dismissed from the program of study. The student is not eligible for program readmission unless the clinical restriction is removed.
In addition to the disqualifying events listed in Section 37-29-232 of the Mississippi Code of 1972 annotated, clinical affiliates may, at their discretion, refuse to provide clinical experiences to any student whom the clinical affiliates feel are not suitable for employment or for the clinical experience setting.
Any drug conviction; bodily harm, neglect or abuse, or felony DUI conviction within a year of starting date of class is cause for denial of the clinical experience setting. Any convictions more than a year beyond the starting date of class will be examined by the “Review Standards Committee” with a decision rendered if the student is allowed to participate in the clinical experience setting. Any charges pending a resolution will require documentation of disposition from the student.
Graduates of the DAT program will be awarded a certificate of completion. Upon graduation from the program, the student will be able to apply for a Mississippi radiology permit, which is necessary to administer dental radiographs or digital images in the state of Mississippi. The student is required to sit for two of the three components of the Dental Assisting National Board CDA exam (Infection Control Exam- ICE and Radiology Health and Safety Exam- RHS) during the program year.
Progression: To meet graduation requirements for this program, students must successfully complete the specified courses listed below with a “C” average (GPA of 2.00) or better. A grade of “C” or higher is required in each DAT course to progress in the program. All coursework must be passed.
Minimum admission requirements (in addition to general admission requirements):
Attain a 17 or better composite score on the ACT;
Score a 251 or higher on the ACCUPLACER NG Reading Section and a 251 or above on the ACCUPLACER NG Arithmetic Section (or 231 on the ACCUPLACER NG Algebra QAS Section);
Complete 15 semester hours with a “C” average or above at an accredited college or university with six (6) of the hours being awarded in ENG 1113 - English Composition I and SPT 1113 - Public Speaking . Developmental coursework does not satisfy this requirement;
Have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 (“C” average) on all previous college coursework;
Attend a DAT Information Session offered in late spring. Students will receive notice from the Registrar’s Office about scheduling their Information Session.
The DAT Admissions Committee will select each year’s class from the pool of applicants who meet minimum admission requirements. Any application with incomplete records will not be considered for admission. The admission process is competitive, and completion of minimum requirements is not a guarantee of admission. Priority consideration for admission will be given as follows: (1) In-district students who complete program prerequisites and/or general education coursework at MCC; (2) Out-of-district students who complete program prerequisites and/or general education coursework at MCC; (3) Mississippi residents who complete program prerequisites and/or general education coursework elsewhere; (4) Out-of-state students. Check with the Health Education Advisor for selection details and deadlines.
After program admission and prior to beginning of class, students must begin a three-part Hepatitis-B vaccination (or present physician’s statement stating that this vaccination is not advisable) and have a current CPR card not expiring while the students are in the program. Students must provide proof of immunization for MMR. A Mantoux Two-Step TB Skin Test and a Drug Screening Test will be scheduled after classes begin.
Students in the Dental Assisting Program must attend MCC full-time (12 or more semester credit hours).