Dental assisting graduates total drops 18.7% over 5 years

The number of dental assisting graduates dropped 18.7 percent over five years, according to the American Dental Association's "Dental Education Program Enrollment and Graduates Report: 2021-22."

Data for the report was collected using a fall 2021 survey conducted by the ADA Health Policy Institute. The survey was sent to all 68 accredited dental school programs in the U.S. All dental education programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation are required to complete the surveys annually to maintain CODA accreditation.

Here are the number of graduates from accredited allied dental education programs from 2017 to 2021, per program type:

Dental hygiene

2017: 7,294

2018: 7,377

2019: 7,311

2020: 7,002

2021: 7,325

Five-year change: 0.4 percent

Dental assisting

2017: 4,852

2018: 4,688

2019: 4,517

2020: 4,003

2021: 3,943

Five-year change: -18.7 percent

Dental laboratory technology

2017: 225

2018: 211

2019: 197

2020: 188

2021: 164

Five-year change: -27.1 percent

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