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Dental Assistant Vocational Schools

Dental assistants are in more demand than ever. Dentists are increasingly relying on their assistants to handle routine aspects of their practice like settling patients into the exam chair, sterilizing the instruments, processing x-rays and maintaining dental records. In some states, dental assistants with the proper certification can handle more complex tasks like coronal polishing and fluoride treatments.

Dental assistant vocational, trade and technical schools can prepare you to work in a variety of settings -- from an oral surgeon's office to a pediatric dental clinic. Pursuing nationally recognized qualifications or an area of specialization can help you find the right fit for your career in this growing field.

Dental assisting specializations

The majority of dental assistants work in regular dental offices or clinics and therefore concentrate their training on general dentistry. However, there are opportunities to specialize in this field. In order to work in a dental specialty, your state or your employer may require additional training or certification.

Some dental assistant schools offer students the ability to receive specialized training. Others may offer training rotations that allow you to experience several specialty areas over the course of your schooling. In addition to general dentistry, specialties for dental assistants include:

  • Pediatrics: specializing in children and families
  • Orthodontics: specializing in incorrect bites due to irregularities in teeth or the jaw
  • Periodontics: specializing in gums, membranes, and bones that support teeth and the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery: specializing in jaw, mouth or face surgery including plastic surgery, dental implants or oral cancer
  • Endodontics: specializing in dental pulp as in the case of root canals or cracked teeth

Dental assisting certifications and degrees

Depending on your state regulations and your employer's expectations, requirements for becoming a dental assistant range from a high school diploma and on-the-job training to a one-year certificate or a two-year associate's degree. High school classes in biology, anatomy and chemistry can help prepare students for a career in dental assisting.

Dental assistant vocational schools provide more specialized courses like oral anatomy where you'll learn about teeth, jaws and gums. Courses in chair-side assisting will teach you about dental tools and terminology. Some dental assisting schools offer classes in dental science, dental materials and radiology in addition to office skills including computing and communications. Laboratory classes and supervised practice offer hands-on dental assisting experience.

Some states require dental assistants to be certified, and some employers simply prefer to higher certified assistants. To check what's necessary for your state, the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB.org) lists specific state-by-state requirements.

To be eligible for certification, you must have completed a program from an accredited dental assisting school and be CPR certified. Alternatively, you may have a high school diploma along with 3,500 of approved work experience. For specialized certifications, check DANB's exam eligibility criteria.

DANB offers four broad certifications that can prepare you to specialize or gain a greater degree of responsibility on the job.

  • Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam covers general chair-side assisting, radiation health and safety, and infection control.
  • Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) covers orthodontic assisting and infection control.
  • Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) covers coronal polishing, sealants, topical anesthetic and topical floride.
  • Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA) covers anatomy, morphology and physiology, impressions, temporaries, isolations, sealants, and restorative functions.

DANB also offers more targeted certifications, components of the broader certifications, which can often be taken with few or no prerequisites. Those include:

  • Infection Control (ICE)
  • Sealants (SE)
  • Impressions (IE)
  • Anatomy, Morphology and Physiology (AMP)
  • Coronal Polishing (CP)

Dental assisting salary and career outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), dental assistants in the U.S. earned a median annual wage of $34,900, or $16.78 an hour, in May 2013. The top 10 percent earned at least $48,350 a year, while the lowest 10 percent earned up to $22,220. New Hampshire was top-paying state for dental assistants, with mean annual wages of $43,810, with Alaska and Minnesota coming in 2nd and 3rd.

The BLS paints strong employment picture for dental assistants, with 25 percent growth predicted through 2022. This growth is driven in large part by improved access to health care.

Finding the right fit

Varying degrees of responsibility exist within the field of dental assisting and may depend your on specific certifications and areas of specialization. Pursuing additional certifications and specialties can help you target your career and may help you find the job that best fits your interests and abilities.

Sources:

Certified Dental Assistant, Exams and Certifications, Dental Assisting National Board, Inc., http://www.danb.org/Become-Certified/Exams-and-Certifications.aspx

Dental Assistant, American Dental Association, 2014, http://www.ada.org/en/home-ada/education-careers/careers-in-dentistry/dental-team-careers/dental-assistant

Dental Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319091.htm

Dental Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm

Dental Assistant Vocational Schools
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Leave that dead-end job behind with training from Everest College.

Programs : Diploma - Dental Assistant, Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant, Associate of Applied Science - Medical Assistant, and more..

Campus Locations :

Kansas City: 1740 W. 92nd Street Kansas City, MO 64114

Colorado Springs: 1815 Jet Wing Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80916

Tacoma: 2156 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA 98402

Everett: 906 SE Everett Mall Way Suite 600 Everett, WA 98208

Springfield: 1010 West Sunshine Springfield, MO 65807

Bremerton: 155 Washington Avenue Suite 200 Bremerton, WA 98337

Renton: 981 Powell Ave. SW Ste. 200 Renton, WA 98057

Woodbridge: 14555 Potomac Mills Road Woodbridge, VA 22192

Chesapeake: 825 Greenbier Circle #100 Suite 100 Chesapeake, VA 23320

Aurora: 14280 E. Jewell Ave. Ste 100 Aurora, CO 80012

Atlanta: 2841 Greenbriar Parkway SW Atlanta, GA 30331

Vancouver: 120 N.E. 136th Ave Ste. 130 Vancouver, WA 98684

Seattle: 2111 N. Northgate Way Suite 218 Seattle, WA 98133

Denver: 9065 Grant St. Denver, CO 80229

Dallas: 6060 N. Central Expressway Dallas, TX 75206

Torrance: 1231 Cabrillo Avenue Ste. 201 Torrance, CA 90501

Arlington: 2801 E. Division Street Suite 250 Arlington, TX 76011

Portland: 425 SW Washington Street Portland, OR 97204

Henderson: 170 N. Stephanie Street 1st Floor Henderson, NV 89074

Newport News: 803 Diligence Dr. Newport News, VA 23606

Get a hands-on, job-specific education at Lincoln Technical Institute.

Programs : Dental Assistant, Medical Office Assistant, Medical Assistant Technology, and more..

Campus Locations :

Lincoln: Lincoln Mall 622 George Washington Highway Lincoln, RI 02865

Brockton: 375 Westgate Drive Brockton, MA 02301

Lowell: 211 Plain Street Lowell, MA 01852

Philadelphia: 3600 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

Allentown: 5151 Tilghman Street Allentown, PA 18104

Paramus: 160 E. Route 4 Paramus, NJ 07652

Mount Laurel: 1000 Howard Boulevard Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Shelton: 8 Progress Drive Shelton, CT 06484

Somerville: 5 Middlesex Ave Somerville, MA 02145

Edison: 1697 Oak Tree Road Edison, NJ 08820

New Britain: 200 John Downey Drive New Britain, CT 06051

Explore a new career with Pima Medical Institute.

Programs : Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, and more..

Campus Locations :

Las Vegas: 3333 E. Flamingo Road Las Vegas, NV 89121

Mesa: 957 S. Dobson Road Mesa, AZ 85202

Chula Vista: 780 Bay Blvd #101 Chula Vista, CA 91910

Tucson: 3350 E. Grant Road Tucson, AZ 85716

Denver: 7475 Dakin Street Suite 100 Denver, CO 80221

Albuquerque: 4400 Cutler Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87110

Colorado Springs: 3770 Citadel Drive North Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Seattle: 9709 Third Avenue NE Suite 400 Seattle, WA 98115

Houston: 10201 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77024

Renton: 555 S. Renton Village Place Suite 400 Renton, WA 98057

Reach your career goals with a degree or diploma from Everest Institute.

Programs : Dental Assistant(Diploma), Medical Administrative Assistant (Diploma), Medical Assistant (Diploma), and more..

Campus Locations :

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Southfield: 21107 Lahser Rd Southfield, MI 48033

Norcross: 1750 Beaver Ruin Rd Suite 500 Norcross, GA 30093

Houston: 7151 Office City Drive Suite 200 Houston, TX 77087

South Plainfield: 5000 Hadley Rd Suite 100 South Plainfield, NJ 07080

Columbus: 825 Tech Center Drive Columbus, OH 43230

Dearborn: 23400 Michigan Ave Suite 200 Dearborn, MI 48124

Austin: 9100 US Hwy 290 East Building 1, Suite 100 Austin, TX 78724

San Antonio: 6550 First Park Ten Blvd San Antonio, TX 78213

Marietta: 1600 Terrell Mill Rd Suite G Marietta, GA 30067

Jonesboro: 6431 Tara Blvd Jonesboro, GA 30236

Pittsburgh: 100 Forbes Ave Suite 1200 Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Detroit: Stroh River Place 300 River Place Drive Suite 1000 Detroit, MI 48207

Rochester: 1630 Portland Ave Rochester, NY 14621

Portland: 9600 SW Oak St 4th Floor Portland, OR 97223

Get hands-on training with Remington College.

Programs : Diploma in Dental Assisting, and more..

Campus Locations :

Cleveland: 14445 Broadway Avenue Cleveland, OH 44125

Fort Worth: 300 East Loop 820 Fort Worth, TX 76112

Houston: 11310 Greens Crossing Houston, TX 77067

Nashville: 441 Donelson Pike Nashville, TN 37214

Garland: 1800 Eastgate Drive Garland, TX 75041

Honolulu: 1111 Bishop Street Suite 400 Honolulu, HI 96813

Mobile: 828 Downtowner Loop West Mobile, AL 36609

Columbia: 607 Bush River Road Columbia, SC 29210

Memphis: 2710 Nonconnah Blvd. Memphis, TN 38132

Lafayette: 303 Rue Louis XIV Lafayette, LA 70508

Shreveport: 2106 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop Shreveport, LA 71118

Get a hands-on, job-specific education at Lincoln College of Technology.

Programs : Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, and more..

Campus Locations :

West Palm Beach: 2410 Metrocentre Blvd West Palm Beach, FL 33407

Marietta: 2359 Windy Hill Road Marietta, GA 30067

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs : Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, and more..

Campus Locations :

Huntington Park: 6055 Pacific Boulevard Huntington Park, CA 90255

Anaheim: 401 W. Carl Karcher Way Anaheim, CA 92801

Bakersfield: 3737 Rosedale Hwy Bakersfield, CA 93308

Stockton: 4994 Claremont Avenue Stockton, CA 95207

Morrow: 1564 Southlake Parkway Morrow, GA 30260

Gardena: 661 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. Gardena, CA 90247

Fresno: 2002 N. Gateway Blvd. Fresno, CA 93727

El Monte: 3401 Rio Hondo Ave. El Monte, CA 91731

Encino: 5445 Balboa Blvd. Encino, CA 91316

Ontario: 3380 Shelby Street # 150 Ontario, CA 91764

Riverside: 1860 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92507

San Marcos: 2085 Montiel Road San Marcos, CA 92069

Chula Vista: 310 3rd Ave. Suite C6 Chula Vista, CA 91910

At Concorde, you’ll find that a “learn by doing” approach to healthcare training will get you the skills you need to succeed-- and get you into the workforce quickly.

Programs : Dental Assistant - Diploma, Dental Assisting - Diploma, Dental Assisting - (AAS), and more..

Campus Locations :

Garden Grove: 12951 Euclid Street Ste. 101 Garden Grove, CA 92840

Portland: 1425 NE Irving Street Portland, OR 97232

San Antonio: 4803 NW Loop 410 Suite 200 San Antonio, TX 78229

San Diego: 4393 Imperial Ave. Ste. 100 San Diego, CA 92113

Kansas City: 3239 Broadway Kansas City, MO 64111

San Bernardino: 201 E. Airport Drive San Bernardino, CA 92408

Memphis: 5100 Poplar Avenue Ste. 132 Memphis, TN 38137

  Vatterott College is dedicated to providing students opportunities to gain the hands-on skills necessary to achieve their educational goals.

Programs : Dental Assistant Specialist, Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant with Office Management, and more..

Campus Locations :

Des Moines: 7000 Fleur Drive Des Moines, IA 50321

Kansas City: 8955 E. 38th Terrace Kansas City, MO 64129

Springfield: 3850 S. Campbell Springfield, MO 65807

Fairview Heights: 110 Commerce Lane Fairview Heights, IL 62208

Joplin: 809 Illinois Avenue Joplin, MO 64801

Memphis: 6991 Appling Farms Parkway Memphis, TN 38133

Saint Louis: 12970 Maurer Industrial Drive Saint Louis, MO 63127

Wichita: 8853 E. 37th Street North Wichita, KS 67226

Saint Joseph: 3131 Frederick Ave. Saint Joseph, MO 64506

Saint Charles: 3550 West Clay Street Saint Charles, MO 63301

Quincy: 3609 North Marx Drive Quincy, IL 62305

With Miller-Motte you can expect the focus to be on you, the student, and your career. We are committed to Changing Futures, Changing Lives, and it all starts with you. You can rely on challenging programs, interesting curriculum, and educators with industry experience preparing you for your new future.

Programs : Dental Assisting - Associate of Occupational Science, Dental Assisting - Associate of Applied Science, Dental Assisting - Diploma, and more..

Campus Locations :

Columbus: 1800 Box Road Columbus, GA 31907

Chattanooga: 6020 Shallowford Road Suite 100 Chattanooga, TN 37421

Macon: Rivergate Center 175 Tom Hill Sr. Blvd. Macon, GA 31210

Clarksville: 1820 Business Park Drive Clarksville, TN 37040

Conway: 2451 Highway 501 East Conway, SC 29526

North Charleston: 8085 Rivers Avenue Suite E North Charleston, SC 29418

Augusta: 621 NW Frontage Rd. Augusta, GA 30907

Madison: 1515 Gallatin Pike North Madison, TN 37115

Lynchburg: 1011 Creekside Lane Lynchburg, VA 24502

Roanoke: 4444 Electric Road, SW Roanoke, VA 24018

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Dental Assistant Vocational & Trade Schools by Canadian Province

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