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School of Health and Human Services

Current Students - CDA Program Handbook

Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) Program Handbook

Last updated: August 13, 2021

The School of Health and Human Services is a place of warmth and caring. We are always looking to connect with future and current students so please don't hesitate to email if you have any questions.

Camosun College campuses are located on the Traditional Territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. We acknowledge their welcome and graciousness to the students who seek knowledge here.

Once enrolled in a program, you're required to familiarize yourself with the information found in your school and program information pages.

Policies and expectations unique to our program are outlined in the following pages. Please ensure that you read the HHS Student Handbook for general school information.

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1. Welcome

1.1 Chair's Message

Your instructors, support staff, and I want welcome you to the Dental Programs Department.  We are very excited that you have chosen to embark on your educational journey with us at Camosun College. By choosing a program in this department, you have demonstrated that you have a desire to become a health care professional providing valuable dental care to residents of our community.

As you pursue your education at Camosun College, you will see how passionate we are about supporting you on your journey as a student. Learning isn't always a linear pathway and success shouldn't always be defined by progression alone. We value all learning opportunities and recognize that at times, it takes great challenges to reveal strength of heart, clarity of mind, and connection to spirit. We designed these guidelines and procedures to help you understand and access the resources and information you will need to be successful.

Your instructors are committed to helping you transform into competent, compassionate dental professionals. We want you to thrive in the diverse and ever-changing dental workplaces. We work hard to model and promote life-long best practices in dental healthcare by providing you access to authentic learning opportunities using creative, innovative teaching practices. You will have the opportunity to experience the real workplace environments of your chosen profession where you will learn alongside professionals in your discipline.

No matter how long your program is, you are already a member of a diverse, interprofessional team of learners. Get to know the campus, explore the all the college's resources, and spend some time getting to know your instructors and your fellow students – they are all part of your support team. We know that your journey into dental education at Camosun College will be the beginning of an inspiring, life-changing future!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to stop by my office, discuss them with one of your instructors, or any of the dedicated staff here at Camosun College.

Mandy Hayre
Chair, Dental Department

Contact the Dental department.


2. Program Values

2.1 Values & Beliefs about Oral Health

Dental health care involves preventive dental care, and the teaching, promotion, support, maintenance and restoration of dental health. Oral health relates to the health and appearance of the structures of the oral cavity, and the interrelationship with the general physical and emotional health and well-being of the individual. Every person has a personal belief about their own oral health and this is influenced by the person's knowledge and perceptions, background, abilities and general state of health and well-being.

Every person has the right to equal access of quality dental health care. Every person should be responsible for, and a partner in, making choices and shaping practices that influence their health. The key to success is to promote self-advocacy, which will enable individuals to make informed decisions about their oral health. As dental health professionals we are committed to working in partnership with every person to guide and educate their oral health care decisions.

2.2 Beliefs about Certified Dental Assistant Practice

Roles and Responsibilities

Certified Dental Assistants are oral health practitioners who have been educated to work interdependently with the dental team and collaborate with other health professionals.

CDAs practice primarily in general dental offices, and increasingly they are employed in specialized dental offices, community and/or institutional health care facilities. CDAs are involved in providing administrative, clinical and technical support to the dental practice. CDAs work effectively, and efficiently within a complex and unpredictable working environment. With a holistic perspective, CDAs provide directed clinical care, and promote oral health through education for individuals of all ages. CDAs practice with direct or indirect supervision of a dentist.

CDAs hold a position of public trust and adhere to the ethical and legal requirements of practice. They are certified with the College or Dental Surgeons of BC. CDAs are responsible and accountable for monitoring their practice with the goal of providing high quality care; as well as renewing and expanding their knowledge and skill base in accordance with changes in oral health care. They have a variety of opportunities for career development.


3. Teaching Philosophy

3.1 Adult Learning and Learners

Adult learners have their own rate and style of learning and bring unique backgrounds and experiences to the learning process. Learning is enhanced when one is actively engaged, when the learning context is meaningful, and when past and present experiences are acknowledged, respected and reflected upon. Learners require encouragement to examine their values and attitudes, as new ways of understanding are considered and new theories and skills developed. Learners need to be given opportunities to interact within a cooperative context, where learning from and with other learners is encouraged. Learning how to learn is an essential component of the educational process.
Respectful and trusting relationships facilitate the teaching-learning process. Self-confidence and direction are enhanced when learners share the responsibility for identifying learning needs, planning learning activities and evaluating experiences. Learners need to be self-advocates for their learning needs, opportunities and experiences. Learners learn best when they are cared for, challenged and when they experience success. Assessment processes facilitate learning and assist learners to be effective self–evaluators.

CDA learners are adults. Learners come from varied backgrounds such as directly out of high school, home, work-force or have had other educational preparation. Increasingly, learners with varied cultural backgrounds are also choosing these programs. Many learners have added family and/or work responsibilities, and commitments outside the program that may present challenges.

3.2 Teachers

Teachers in the CDA Program are certified or licensed and registered with the College of their regulatory body. They are competent in their abilities as Certified Dental Assistants or Dental Hygiene Practitioners and as educators. Teachers endorse the principles and concepts of adult learning. They encourage and model visionary CDA practice and personal and professional integrity. Teachers are flexible, adaptable and constructively responsive to changing situations and contexts. They are assertive, good time managers, and have effective communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills. Teachers are active learners with students and others in the process of learning.

Teachers guide learners toward competent, safe and responsible practice, and facilitate the graduate's entry into the CDA profession. They act as advocates for the needs and rights of learners. They use a variety of flexible teaching and assessment strategies to match individual approaches to learning, encourage active involvement of learners in the teaching and learning process, and facilitate the learner in transferring theory to practice. Teachers are open to new ways of providing learning opportunities through innovation, entrepreneurship, and access to life-long learning. Teachers collaborate with the dental and health care community in practice settings in meeting program goals and individual learner needs. They work cooperatively and collaboratively with each other to meet educational goals of the program, fulfill the needs of learners, and contribute to their own development and the development of others. Teachers plan together, make decisions and support the outcomes of those decisions. They have the knowledge, skills, values and confidence to lead the team when appropriate, encouraging and contributing to excellence in the learning environment.


4. Program Learning Outcomes

4.1 Performance Indicators

Upon successful completion of the CDA program, the graduate will be able to:

  • Safely and competently perform CDA skills.
  • Apply theoretical knowledge of dental sciences to dental assisting practice.
  • Promote oral health and support clients to make informed choices.
  • Communicate effectively with clients, families and team members.
  • Use critical thinking processes for problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Use effective time management and organizational skills.
  • Support and promote the effective functioning of the dental team.
  • Function as a CDA in a professional manner.

Program Outline


5. Collaborative Learning Process

5.1 Progression Policy

The purpose of monitoring academic progress is to help students succeed. The academic progress of all students will be routinely reviewed at faculty meetings. In order to progress academically, students must attain a minimum grade, GPA of 4 and a minimum of B- or COM, in each course of the program. Once a student exhibits problems achieving success in the Program Learning Outcomes and/or course requirements, the following procedure will be initiated.

First, the faculty or staff member will provide the student with a completed "Academic Alert Form" outlining the concern. The student is then asked to set up an advising session with the faculty. The student may also initiate this process with their instructor.

During the advising session, the faculty will complete an "Advising Session Form" with input from the student. This meeting will cover the concerns and strategies for overcoming the issues. Faculty will require that the student meet program/course expectations to remedy the problem. Both should sign the form (an emailed form may be replied to or signed outside of the meeting session indicating the information is completed accurately). The student gets one copy and the other is placed in the student's file. No further action may be necessary.

If concerns are not remedied and the course outcomes are not met, the student will fail the course. Failure of any course will prevent the student from continuing in the program if the course is a necessary prerequisite or pre/corequisite for a subsequent course.

The following section on the 'At Risk Student' has been provided by the School of Health and Human Services to guide students, faculty and support staff. The aim is to:

  • enhance a learner's chance for success
  • provide opportunities for others to succeed
  • effectively utilize learner and college resources
  • assist students, their teachers, and administrative staff to monitor and intervene when a student is "at risk"
  1. Students are ultimately responsible for their learning and progress and are expected to seek help in a timely manner when they are unable to meet the course requirements. The college is committed to supporting student success and to working with students in achieving their educational goals.
  2. When a teacher, during the process of ongoing assessment, determines a student to be at academic risk, the teacher will alert the student and discuss improvement strategies.   Because students are ultimately responsible for their progress, they should communicate their progress and challenges to the teacher and act on the improvement strategies suggested.
  3. Students entering HHS programs are aware of and agree to these 'standards' and their application, including consultation among teachers and with other support services in Camosun College as required.



6. Professional Behaviour

6.1 Professional Body & Discipline-Specific Definitions/Competencies

Professionalism is an integral part of certified dental assisting practice. Professionalism is fostered through examination and clarification of values, attitudes, beliefs, missions and vision. These are demonstrated through behaviour and interactions with clients, colleagues, other dental team members, the community and professional associations. Noncompliance with the protocols and guidelines of the Dental Programs indicates a lack of professionalism. These are a few guidelines.

  • Mature and professional conduct is expected. Camosun College Dental Program has an excellent reputation as a quality service provider in the local community and students are expected to uphold this level of performance.
  • Abiding by the expectations that students are at; dressing professionally and wearing a name tag when possible; using professional language; respecting culture and diversity.
  • Discuss differences of opinion between yourself and faculty members in a private environment. Use conflict resolution process to work through difficulties you may encounter. Bring unresolved issues to the attention of the Program Chair.
  • Smoking/vaping is strongly discouraged in health professions. Students must not smoke/vape in and around the Dental Building or on Campus (is a smoke-free campus). Any lingering odour of cigarettes must be eliminated from clothing, hands and breath before being in proximity of students, faculty, staff or clients
  • Lap top computers may be permitted in class, clinic or lab only upon approval from faculty.
  • Use of cell phones or similar devices is highly disruptive to instruction in the class or clinic. Phones are to be turned off or left on 'silent' mode (to be used for emergency purposes only).


7. Classroom, Lab, or Clinic Etiquette

7.1 Expectations of Student Performance

The following guidelines are established to inform students of standards that apply in both the CDA and DHYG programs (Dental programs).

All instructors are available to discuss any rules and regulations. Any assistance, inquiries, or concerns regarding specific teaching areas are to be discussed with the instructor involved in that area only; other instructors cannot comment on the expectations or actions of another instructor without knowing the full context of the situation. Students and faculty are expected to follow protocols for professional communication and conflict resolution as outlined in this manual.

Students are expected to complete assigned readings/assignments and to practice psycho-motor skills during scheduled laboratory/pre-clinical hours. Satisfactory performance will be based on faculty evaluation, self-evaluation and feedback from peers. Final evaluation will be done by the dental faculty according to the criteria described in each program Clinic Manual under Competencies/Skill Forms.

Additional practice, coaching or review will be required for skills in which the student is not yet competent.

It is recommended that students work collaboratively with peers, to support and provide feedback to each other during practical sessions.

The following universal competencies are evaluated with every clinic performance: demonstrates professionalism (team-work, problem-solving, communication, accountability/responsibility, manages environment time, infection control, client and self) and applies standards set by College of Dental Hygienists of BC (CDHBC) or College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC). Specific criteria are provided in course outlines.


In fairness to all students, course assignments must be submitted on the assigned due date. In special situations students may be granted extension, however, this is not presumed and must be decided by individual faculty. It is the student's responsibility to complete all assignments and catch up on any missed material.

Guidelines for Assignments

The following guidelines relate to written assignments throughout the CDA and DHYG programs. Individual instructors may also provide specific instructions for assignments unique to their courses.

It is expected that formal assignments will be clearly written, with attention to correct spelling, grammar, word usage, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph structure.

Presentation Style and Format

Lack of attribution of pre-existing sources is considered in law to be plagiarism, and therefore inappropriate or omitted citation formats can unwittingly give the impression of plagiarism when it is not intended. Unless the instructor requires a different reference system, all assignments should apply the correct APA style rules for citation.

Withdrawal Policy

Students who need to withdraw from the CDA or DHYG program for personal or medical reasons should consult the Camosun College calendar section "Withdrawing from Programs and Courses" for the deadlines dates, procedures and refund policies. Also see "Guidelines for Leaving and Re-Entry."

The "At Risk" Student

An "at risk" student is one who, without change, will not meet course learning outcomes. Course learning outcomes are defined in each course outline. This protocol is to assist in identifying and managing barriers to successful performance and to do this in a timely, goal oriented way. Students will use this protocol to self-monitor their performance and to guide their consultations with their teachers. All teachers within a program are concerned about and share responsibility for student success. Therefore, consultation among teachers will occur with regard to "at risk students". The sequence of consultation may vary depending on the situation and Department.

Identifying At-risk Performance: through verbal feedback, observed behaviours, interactions, review of progress notes, journals and other feedback. Some examples may include:

  1. Poor or minimal achievement      
  2. Inappropriate or unrealistic attitude      
  3. Avoidance of communication with faculty 
  4. Poor impulse control
  5. Poor applications of theory       
  6. Inconsistent performance
  7. Poor spatial or psycho motor skills
  8. Poor attendance (late, absent)
  9. Inappropriate or disrespectful communication
  10. Lack of insight, self-awareness
  11. Poor judgment
  12. Inadequate preparation
  13. Unethical behaviour

Factors impacting performance may include:

  1. Knowledge and skill deficit
  2. English language deficit
  3. Inadequate study skills 
  4. Learning difficulties  
  5. Organizational and time management issues
  6. Motivation/Commitment Issues
  7. Health challenges
  8. Personal issues

Consultation between student & teacher: Either will initiate as soon as issues/concerns arise to foster increased awareness, mutual insight and shared responsibility. The aim is to:

  1. Clearly identify areas of weak performance or concern and potential
  2. Relate concerns to course or program learning outcomes
  3. Determine why performance is at risk
  4. Develop a summary and learning plan including prescriptive strategies and timelines
  5. Evaluate or review in a timely manner
  6. Identify when further consultation with teachers will occur

Teacher consultation with teachers: Based on activities identified above, the team will:

  1. Aim for best practice through collective wisdom.
  2. Critically discuss and advise the teacher regarding due process. Help the teacher identify the student's strengths. Assess communication between student and teacher.
  3. Review the nature and quality of documentation.
  4. Identify strategies that are comprehensive and goal oriented.
  5. Consider alternatives and potential consequences.
  6. Record outcomes of consultation and ensure student is notified.

Possible Strategies: Developed in collaboration with student and teachers; examples may include:

  1. Temporarily adjust or reduce practice assignment
  2. Review theory, encourage lab practice of clinical skills
  3. Provide more supervision, or supervision of a different nature
  4. Give more feedback, and in a variety of ways
  5. Get more feedback, and in a variety of ways
  6. Seek assistance and policy direction external to the department, e.g. Counselling, Student Conduct Policy

Documentation: Record ongoing strategies and progress; student and teacher signatures note documents have been read, e.g.:

  • progress notes
  • mid-term and final evaluation forms
  • academic alerts, conference forms
  • advising sessions
  • learning contracts
  • Collaborative Performance Agreements ("I" Grades)

Academic Probation

A student that fails to maintain a minimum grade allowed: GPA of 4 and a minimum of B- or a "COM" in each course, in each semester will be unable to progress in the program. The student may apply to re-enter the program, to repeat the failed course (see Guidelines for Leaving and Re-Entry).

Students that leave the program are expected to make arrangements with the Clinic Supervisor(s) to remove their instruments.

College Policy on Academic Probation, Academic Removal and Suspension can be reviewed in the Camosun College Academic Policy.

Supplemental Examinations for Dental Students

A student may be given the opportunity to write a supplemental exam for a maximum of two courses in the program. Supplemental exam criteria is as follows:

  • Offered for DENA and DHYG courses only (BIOL courses are not eligible for supplemental examination) 
  • Will be a comprehensive exam evaluating all aspects of the course content. (This is not a repeat of the final exam)
  • Typically will be 3 hours in length
  • The exam must be completed within a week of the original evaluation whenever possible
  • Instructor will submit a failing grade (C+ or C etc.) as the final course grade, and will submit a grade change (if applicable) after the student's supplemental exam.
  • Maximum grade awarded is 70%, regardless of the supplemental exam score.

Repeating a Course

Students re-entering the program to repeat a failed course may choose to update/upgrade their knowledge in the courses they have already successfully completed. This may be done in a number of ways. Also see re-entry process below.

  1. Students may register to audit a theory course, space permitting. Clinical practice courses may not be audited.
  2. Students may register to repeat past courses, space permitting.
  3. Students may negotiate with the appropriate instructor to attend select classes if they are   repeating a course during a semester.

Guidelines for Leaving and Re-entry into the Dental Programs

When a student leaves the program prior to completion, the Chair or designate will attempt to schedule an exit interview with the student. Where appropriate, a Personal Learning Plan (PLP) may be developed in collaboration with the student which could include specific learning strategies for returning to the program or a recommendation for career counselling.

If a student is eligible and wishes to re-enter a dental program, he/she must follow these guidelines:

  1. Inform the Chair and Program Leader of intention to re-enter in writing by June 1st.
  2. Fill out an application form at Registration as a re-entry Applicant. Deadline for application is June 1st.
  3. A student will only be offered a seat if it is available in the program.
  4. A student can only re-enter into the program once.
  5. Students who are not offered seats to re-enter within one year of their exit are encouraged to re-apply to the program as a new student.

Re-entry Policy

  1. Permission is granted on an individual basis as long as a seat is available. If more than one student is applying to re-enter, priority is based on:
    • Students who were successful prior to leaving (e.g., medical withdrawal)
    • Students who were unsuccessful will be ranked according to academic and clinical achievement
    • Students who were unsuccessful will be ranked according to their demonstrated level of professionalism.
  2. Re-entry students will be admitted into the program within one year of their departure from the program. If it has been longer than one year, the student is no longer eligible to apply
    as a re-entry student.
  3. Students who have passed a course but wish to repeat the course to increase their
    knowledge are encouraged to do so.
  4. A student may need to be assessed prior to re-entry into a clinical or theory course for competence.
  5. Students are only allowed to re-enter once.
  6. .  In very specific circumstances, students may enter/re-enter the CDA program on a part-time basis and will have a maximum of 2 years to complete the program.

7.2 Grading Systems

In order to progress academically, students must attain a minimum GPA of 4 or a minimum of B- (70%) or "COM" in each course (this includes the DHYG Biology courses), in each semester of the program.

The following two grading systems are used at Camosun College:

  • Standard Grading System (GPA): for Lecture Component
  • Competency Based Grading System: for Clinical Requirement Component

Learn about Camosun's grading systems.

Incomplete Grade

At the discretion of the teacher, students who have shown good progress, but have been unable to complete the requirements of a course due to hardship or extenuating circumstances, such as illness or death in the family, may be issued an Incomplete rather than an "F" or "NC" grade. The following criteria would be used in assigning an "I" grade. The student:

  • has demonstrated consistent progress towards completion of all course requirements and would have met them all if time had not been missed
  • has shown evidence of meeting most of the course requirements, with work required to complete only one or two areas
  • has a reasonable chance of meeting the requirements in the time designated

In such situations a Collaborative Agreement will be developed with the student and it is expected that the student will complete the requirements within the specified time frame. Upon successful completion of the requirements within the specified time frame, the "I" grade will be changed to reflect a passing grade. A failure will result if the contract is not fulfilled on time and as specified.

Test & Exam Protocol


  • Tests/Exams must be written at their scheduled time and place.
  • Everything must be removed from the table, except items required to complete the test/exam.
  • Food is not permitted in the room. Beverage is allowed only if it is contained in a clear bottle or has been checked by the instructor.
  • Final answers are to be written in ink unless otherwise specified by the instructor.
  • There is to be no communication with any other student.
  • Electronic devices are not permitted in the classroom.
  • Students cannot leave the room once the test/exam is in progress. Washroom breaks can be prearranged for medical issues.
  • Books, backpacks or coats are not permitted at the desk/table during the examination.
  • Once the exam is handed in, it will not be returned during the examination.
  • A student caught cheating will be dealt with according to the college's Student Conduct Policy.
  • Once the grades are distributed, test or exam papers may be viewed or discussed with the instructor at a pre-arranged time.

Late Arrival for Scheduled Tests

  • Students arriving late for written or laboratory testing are disruptive to their peers and the instructor.
  • A student arriving late will only be admitted to the exam within the first 30 minutes of its commencement. After 30 minutes has elapsed from the start of the test the opportunity for testing will be forfeited.
  • Once the exam has started no student may leave the room until 30 minutes has passed.
  • Students arriving late will not be granted extra time to write the test or to complete the laboratory evaluation.

Missed Tests/Quizzes/Exams

  • Dates and times are set for testing situations. Students are informed of the dates and times at the beginning of the course and are expected to organize their schedules accordingly.
  • Students are expected to notify the course instructor BEFORE the scheduled test session if they are unable to be present. Failure to notify the instructor will forfeit the student's opportunity for a make-up test.
  • If a student is absent from a written test for reasonable cause (e.g. illness, family emergency, etc.) the student may be allowed a make-up test on the first days s/he returns to the program. A physician's note for illness, or a note validating the family emergency, will be required prior to arranging the make-up test.

Use of Recording Devices in the Classroom

Students may not use recording devices in the classroom without the prior permission of the instructor. However, the instructor's permission is not required when the use of a recording device is sanctioned by the college's Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) in order to accommodate a student's disability and when the instructor has been provided with a notification letter which specifies the use of a recording device. Recordings made in the classroom are for the student's personal use only, and distribution of recorded material is prohibited.

7.3 Attendance and Absenteeism

  1. Full attendance is encouraged; class and clinical sessions. Absenteeism could interfere with the student's ability to successfully complete the program.
  2. It is the student's choice as to whether to take time off for personal reasons (e.g. weddings, family events, etc.). However, it is important to know that faculty will not be expected to:
    • Provide student with materials or support regarding content that may be missed
    • Grant extensions for skill completion or for assignments
    • Provide opportunities for missed exams/quizzes
    • Grant additional clinic time
  3. Students unable to attend clinic are requested to notify an instructor and/or the program leader by 7:30am. If clients are involved they must also be notified by the student. Note: it is advised to also inform a classmate so they may communicate the information in case the specific instructor is not available.
  4. A medical/doctor's note may be required for absences of more than three days.
  5. Hours: see time table for class/clinic hours. Evening hours may be required
  6. Practicums, Externships and Community Projects: regular attendance is expected. Active participation reflects responsibility and accountability. See Professionalism for respectful deportment and behaviour.
  7. Lectures with guest speakers: Occasionally guests from the community are invited to speak on a topic as part of a theory course. It is a professional courtesy to attend and be on time to classes when a guest speaker is scheduled.

7.5 Dress Code and Guidelines

Clinic/Lab Attire Requirements

See Professional Deportment in Clinic Manual.

7.6 Student Protocol: Infection Control and Confidentiality

Infection Control/Safety

As a Dental Programs student you will learn and practice the highest standards of infection control, personal hygiene and safety for self and patients/clients. Refer to the Safety Procedures Manual for Dental Programs (available on D2L).

  • When providing clinical care to patients/clients or partners, a well-fitted mask will be worn at all times, and must be changed for each client
  • When working with patients/clients or partners, disposable gloves will be worn and will be changed for each client. If you have a known latex allergy please inform the Clinic Supervisor
  • Safety glasses must be worn for all clinical practice – patient/client, partner or mannequin

7.7 Clinic/Lab Rules

"Stand Ins" for Clinical Practice

During your clinical practice you will be required to act as a patient/client for peers and have skills practiced on you (e.g., radiographs, local anaesthesia, debridement, polishing, fluoride). Students unable to act as patients/clients may be required to provide suitable "stand- ins".

Recruitment of Clients

During certain portions of the program, students will be asked to assist with recruitment of patients/clients for clinical treatment. Further information will be provided in each program.

7.8 Clinic/Lab Information

Student Access and Protocols in the Dental Building

The clinic, lab, dispensary, reception office and locker areas of the Dental Building are reserved learning areas for students in the Dental Programs. Guidelines include:


  • students must be in full clinic attire and follow all clinic guidelines any time in clinic
  • see the clinic supervisors and clinic lead instructor for arrangements to determine operatory availability; other scheduled clinics may be occurring
  • students may practice skills on mannequins only if an instructor is present or when pre-approval is acquired
  • exposing radiographs on mannequins or practicing any procedures on partners requires faculty to be present
  • when walking through or retrieving items from clinic the appropriate walk-ways or corridors must be used
  • be respectful of other groups in clinic and stay clear of areas of activity


  • do not work in the lab without a buddy present, this being a fellow classmate or other dental program student
  • wear clinic attire when doing any laboratory procedures during scheduled clinic hours; a lab coat is required over street clothes outside of clinic hours
  • after clinic hours a faculty must be informed and present in the building in order for students to work in the lab
  • remove jewelry, tie hair back and wear safety glasses to ensure personal protection when performing bench work or working with lab equipment
  • follow asepsis guidelines and lab counter/equipment must be thoroughly cleaned after any lab work


  • when clinic supervisors are not present, students must work with a buddy
  • students must be in clinic attire and follow all asepsis guidelines
  • refer to instructional binders with protocol for all equipment and procedures prior to asking faculty or clinic supervisors

Reception Office

  • students may work on charts or reception tasks in the Reception office as needed; alternative areas are provided for this work and include the area behind dispensary, and the east end of the clinic
  • computers in the reception office area are to be used ONLY for software education and application and/or letters to dentists. They are NOT for personal use (i.e. no assignments, e-mail, internet access etc.)
  • use of any office equipment including computers, phones for personal calls, fax, photocopier is prohibited unless special permission granted
  • clinic attire must be worn if student is working with any public clinic is in progress; lab coats must be worn over respectful street clothes (no hats, hoodies or shorts) in the reception office area at any time
  • students leaving the reception area at the end of the day to ensure the lights are off, the door and window is closed and locked as they leave if the Instructional Assistant is not there
  • no food or drink is allowed in reception area


CDA students are required to purchase an instrument kit. Dental Hygiene students are required to purchase 2 instrument kits, as well as an ultrasonic unit and inserts. Dental Hygiene students are required to purchase 2 instrument kits, as well as an ultrasonic unit and inserts. Other selected instruments and equipment will be made available for student use in the clinic and lab areas. Be aware of instructions/directions and apply safety standards for use.

          Report any breakage or loss to the instructor and/or clinic supervisor.

          Camosun College is not responsible for any lost instruments or equipment.

Use of Photocopier in Reception

Use of the photocopy machine in the reception area of the Dental Building is restricted to faculty and staff only. Students are not permitted use of this photocopier except by special permission from a faculty or staff member. Permission from a faculty or staff member does not include use for class assignments, projects or personal use.

Key Card access

A key card will be given to each student on Orientation Day. Our dental clinic can only be accessed by this card. There are also certain times of the day when the dental building can only be entered using this card. Each card supplied is on loan to the students by the college. Replacement card cost is $20.00, if lost or not handed back at the end of each school year. Grades are withheld, if card is not returned or paid for.


8. Practicum Guidelines

Students will find information on their practicum expectations within their practical skills and practicum course materials. Consult with your instructor or Chair if you are unable to locate your supporting documents.

  1. Practicum Handbook
  2. Practicum Guidelines and Journal
  3. Evaluation


9. Program Resources for Learning

9.1 Class

  • The purpose of classroom work is to present or clarify course content information through a variety of delivery methods. Class is to enhance information in assigned readings and assist students in acquiring and applying knowledge and skills.
  • Delivery and learning activities may include lectures, videos, guest speakers, case studies of "real-life" situations, small group discussions, seminar and practice in lab or clinical settings.
  • Students will improve success by being proactive in their learning. A willingness for interactive discussion and activities also enhance success.
  • The instructor's role is to facilitate discussion.

9.2 The Dental Lab - Room D104

The dental lab is available for students to practice the skills learned in class or clinic. During the program, there will be scheduled times for students to work in the lab. If additional lab time is needed, this may be arranged in the early morning or after scheduled clinic time as available. An instructor must be notified of the activities and be present in the building.

Note: The dental lab and clinic are scheduled concurrently so students are expected to consult with the appropriate instructor/program for use outside their schedule time.

For safety purposes, students are required to work with another dental student present. See clinic manual for specific guidelines.

9.3 Reception Office – Room D102

The door to the reception office is to be kept closed, the glass partition window secured, and monitors and lights turned off when no one is present in the office. Students are expected to adhere to the clinic dress and professional conduct while in the reception area. Students are allowed in the reception office only to perform reception duties and to access client charts and records. The reception area and computers are not to be used for completing homework, projects or other unrelated activities. The reception is a quiet working area, and all conversations should be kept to a minimum at a low volume.

9.4 Clinic Access Outside Scheduled Times

All students should ideally complete their activities during their scheduled clinical time. If this is not possible, students must:

  • Be in appropriate clinical attire
  • Act professionally
  • Only walk in the designated pathways
  • Be mindful not to interrupt the other class activities
  • If you must access an area that is being utilized, patiently wait until you can ask for permission or the area is vacated
  • If it is not a suitable time, the student may be asked to return at a later time

9.5 Audio Visual Materials

There are a variety of audio-visual materials (i.e. films, videos) that are helpful in assisting you to learn the material presented in class. Some of these materials may be shown in class time. Others are listed in course outlines or D2L and students may be expected to view these on their own time.

9.6 Peer Group

Classmates are important sources of support within the program. Many students find it helpful to "buddy" with another student or group of students - to study together, work together in the lab, encourage and support each other, discuss experiences, or discuss questions. Some of the learning experiences are structured so that you will be working with another person or in a small group.

9.7 Instructors

All instructors have office hours and can be reached by email or telephone. The telephone voice messaging system is operational 24 hours a day. Term schedules and contact information are usually posted and students are advised early in the term. The instructor will endeavor to return your call or correspondence within 48 hours.

9.8 Recreational Activities

There are a number of recreational programs in which you may wish to participate. The office of the Recreational programs and workout gym/activity studio are located in the basement of the Young Building, Lansdowne Campus.

9.9 Library Services

The library closest to the Dental building is located on the Lansdowne campus. There are reference journals and textbooks available in the library and each class will have an introductory session for use of the resources.

Help with research

When you need reliable books, articles and websites for essays and research projects, ask a librarian to help you find suitable items. You can go to the Information Desk in the library, or use the online service called AskAway. There is a link to AskAway, as well as the catalogue and library hours, at

The Library provides access to thousands of articles through multiple databases. To find articles that are relevant to Dental topics, click on the Dental link at the top of the database list. These databases will be useful:

  1. Academic Search (EBSCO) – journals with an academic focus, many full-text
  2. Medline – comprehensive index includes dental topics, not full-text. There is an advanced help page for dental topics on Medline at
  3. Alt Health Watch – complementary therapies; academic & popular, consumer-oriented material

You can read the articles on any computer with an internet connection, but to gain access you will need your student number (C######) and library password (or Camosun password). Your library password is usually your birth date in the format MMDDYY. Ask for assistance if this does not work.

If you cannot use this direct link, follow this path: from the library's homepage: click on Magazines/Journals/Newspapers, then select Search for articles by topic.


10. Info for Graduates

10.1 Certification & Professional Association Information

Upon successful completion of this Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada fully accredited program, the graduate must write and pass the National Dental Assistant Examination to be eligible for certification with the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia. A criminal conviction may interfere with a candidate's eligibility for certification.

Note: Fees for NDAEB exam and CDSBC certification upon completion of the program are not included in tuition fees.


11. Appendix

11.1 New Student Orientation

We are pleased that you have selected Camosun College as your educational institution of choice. We hope you will enjoy your experience in this quality, fully accredited program which has been offered for over 40 years.

We are looking forward to meeting you in September. In addition to the Information for Accepted Students, please review the program-specific information attached PDF.

It is very important that ALL students in the Certified Dental Assistant Program review the orientation document. It is imperative that you work on completing all tasks prior to the first day of classes.

Note There are extremely long wait times for the bookstore during the first two weeks of the program, so getting an early start is highly recommended.


Contact Us
Camosun College Lansdowne
3100 Foul Bay Rd
Victoria BC V8P 5J2
Camosun College Interurban
4461 Interurban Rd
Victoria BC V9E 2C1
  • 250–370–3000
  • 1–877–554–7555 (toll-free)

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