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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 Assisting

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.

CareerAnnual Median WageProjected Employment ChangeProjected 2012-2022 Growth
Dentists, All Other Specialists1701104006.3
Dental Laboratory Technicians368301,0002.6
Dentists, General14954020,60016.3
Dental Hygienists7152064,20033.3
Dental Assistants3539074,40024.5
*This data is sourced from the 2013 BLS employment report (BLS.gov)

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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Get allied health training with Ross Medical Education Center.

Programs : Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, and more.

Campus Locations :

New Baltimore: 51133 Birch Street Suite 100 New Baltimore, MI 48047

Lansing: 4106 W. Saginaw Hwy. Lansing, MI 48917

Owensboro: 410 Southtown Blvd Suite 6 Owensboro, KS 42303

Granger: 445 E. University Drive Granger, IN 46530

Cincinnati: 11590 Century Blvd., Ste. 210 Cincinnati, OH 45246

Davison: 815 South State Street Davison, MI 48423

Saginaw: 4300 Fashion Square Blvd. Suite 202 Saginaw, MI 48603

Muncie: 411 West Riggin Muncie, IN 47303

Erlanger: 600 Rodeo Drive, Ste. 2 Erlanger, KY 41018

Dayton: 4490 Brandt Pike Dayton, OH 45424

Muskegon: 950 W. Norton Ave Suite D Muskegon, MI 49441

Madison Heights: 29429 John R Madison Heights, MI 48071

Ann Arbor: 4741 Washtenaw Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Portage: 6235 South Westnedge Portage, MI 49002

Niles: 5555 Youngstown-Warren Rd Unit 909 Niles, OH 44446

Evansville: 227 N Green River Rd Evansville, IN 47715

Grand Rapids: 4528 Breton SE Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Flint: G3630 Miller Rd Suite D Flint, MI 48507

Charleston: 5707 MacCorkle Ave, SE, Suite 20 Charleston, WV 25304

Canton: 44958 Ford Road Canton, MI 48187

Huntsville: 930 Old Monrovia Road, NW, NW, Suite 12, Huntsville, AL 35806

Fort Wayne: 4122 Lima Road Unit A5 Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Brighton: 8110 Murphy Drive Brighton, MI 48116

Johnson City: 3021 E. Oakland Ave. Johnson City, TN 37601

Sylvania: 5834 Monroe Street Suite F - J Sylvania, OH 43560

Morgantown: 1064 Suncrest Towne Centre Drive Morgantown, WV 26505

Port Huron: 2887 Krafft Road Suite 700 Port Huron, MI 48060

Bowling Green: 1751 Scottsville Road, Suite 1 Bowling Green, KY 42104

Mansfield: 2150 West 4TH Street Mansfield, OH 44906

Taylor: 22311 Eureka Road Taylor, MI 48180

At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career. * Programs vary by location * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information Please call on  844-252-4552 to talk to a respresentative.

Programs : Dental Assistant, Dental Assisting, Expanded Function Dental Assistant, and more.

Campus Locations :

Cuyahoga Falls: 2545 Bailey Road Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

Cincinnati: 11499 Chester Road Suite 200 Cincinnati, OH 45246

Richmond: 2000 Westmoreland Street, Suite A Richmond, VA 23230

Birmingham: 100 London Parkway Birmingham, AL 35211

Mobile: 3590 Pleasant Valley Road Mobile, AL 36609

Scranton: 517 Ash Street Scranton, PA 18509

Montgomery: 3736 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109

Indianapolis: 9001 N. Wesleyan Road Suite 101 Indianapolis, IN 46268

Dayton: 555 E. Alex-Bell Road Dayton, OH 45459

Hyattsville: 4351 Garden City Drive Hyattsville, MD 20785

Norfolk: 6300 Center Drive, Suite 100 Norfolk, VA 23502

Orange Park: 560 Wells Road Orange Park, FL 32073

Pensacola: 4081 East Olive Road Suite B Pensacola, FL 32514

Smyrna: 21088 Cobb Parkway Smyrna, GA 30080

Port Saint Lucie: 9022 South US Highway 1 Port St. Lucie Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952

Erie: 5757 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16506

Lawrence Township: 2572 Brunswick Pike Suite 100 Lawrence Township, NJ 08648

Phoenix: 555 North 18th Street Ste. 110 Phoenix, AZ 85006

Columbia: 246 Stoneridge Drive Suite 101 Columbia, SC 29210

Wayne: 201 Willowbrook Blvd. Wayne, NJ 07470

Towson: 700 York Road Towson, MD 21204

Foley: 200 East Laurel Ave Foley, AL 36535

Grand Prairie: 401 E. Palace Parkway Suite 100 Grand Prairie, TX 75050

Westerville: 4151 Executive Parkway, Suite 240 Westerville, OH 43081

Ravenna: 653 Enterprise Parkway Ravenna, OH 44266

Windsor Mill: 6901 Security Blvd. Windsor Mill, MD 21244

Cookeville: 1025 Hwy. 111 Cookeville, TN 38501

Baton Rouge: 9255 Interline Ave. Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Dothan: 200 Vulcan Way Dothan, AL 36303

Kingston: 166 Slocum Street Kingston, PA 18704

Houston: 450 N.Sam Houston Parkway Houston, TX 77060

Nashville: 3354 Perimeter Hill Dr. 3354 Perimeter Hill Dr. Nashville, TN 37211

Get hands-on training with Remington College. Prefer to speak with a Customer Service Rep? Call 855-264-3155 toll-free now!

Programs : Diploma in Dental Assisting, AAS in Clinical Medical Assisting, Diploma in Medical Assisting, and more.

Campus Locations :

Nashville: 441 Donelson Pike Nashville, TN 37214

Houston: 11310 Greens Crossing Houston, TX 77041

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

Cleveland: 14445 Broadway Avenue Cleveland, OH 44125

Honolulu: 1111 Bishop Street Suite 400 Honolulu, HI 96813

Columbia: 607 Bush River Road Columbia, SC 29210

Lafayette: 303 Rue Louis XIV Lafayette, LA 70508

Shreveport: 2106 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop Shreveport, LA 71118

Memphis: 2710 Nonconnah Blvd. Memphis, TN 38132

Mobile: 828 Downtowner Loop West Mobile, AL 36609

Garland: 1800 Eastgate Drive Garland, TX 75041

Are you interested in pursuing a high-tech career? Getting an education from ITT Tech is a great place to start!

Programs : AS - Medical Assisting and Administration, and more.

Campus Locations :

Tulsa: 4943 South 78th East Avenue Tulsa, OK 74145

Canton: 1905 S Haggerty Rd Canton, MI 48188

Louisville: 10509 Timberwood Circle Louisville, KY 40223

Chantilly: 14420 Albemarle Point Place Chantilly, VA 20151

Oklahoma City: 50 Penn Place Suite 305 Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Springfield: 7300 Boston Blvd Springfield, VA 22153

Akron: 3428 W. Market Street Akron, OH 44333

Hilliard: 3781 Park Mill Run Drive Hilliard, OH 43026

Salem: 2159 Apperson Drive Salem, VA 24153

Rancho Cordova: 10863 Gold Center Drive Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Cleveland: 4700 Richmond Rd Cleveland, OH 44128

Dayton: 3325 Stop 8 Road Dayton, OH 45414

Lake Mary: 1400 International Pkwy South Lake Mary, FL 32746

Richardson: 2101 Waterview Parkway Richardson, TX 75080

Fort Lauderdale: 3401 South University Drive Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328

Strongsville: 14955 Sprague Road Strongsville, OH 44136

Richmond: 300 Gateway Centre Parkway Richmond, VA 23235

Lexington: 2473 Fortune Dr. Suite 180 Lexington, KY 40509

Norfolk: 863 Glenrock Road Norfolk, VA 23502

Youngstown: 1030 North Meridian Road Youngstown, OH 44509

Miami: 7955 NW 12th Street Miami, FL 33126

Jacksonville: 7011 A.C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 140 Jacksonville, FL 32256

Cincinnati: 4750 Wesley Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45212

Tampa: 4809 Memorial Highway Tampa, FL 33634

Founded in 1886, American National University (ANU) is dedicated to the training and education of men and women for a full life and a successful career in a number of fields in Business & Health care.

Programs : Medical Office Assistant - Diploma, Medical Assisting - Associate, and more.

Campus Locations :

Youngstown: 3487 Belmont Ave Youngstown, OH 44505

Wickliffe: 27557 Chardon Rd Wickliffe, OH 44092

Columbus: 5665 Forest Hills Blvd Columbus, OH 43231

Stow: 3855 Fishcreek Rd Stow, OH 44224

Canton: 4736 Dressler Rd NW Canton, OH 44718

Fort Wayne: 6131 North Clinton St Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Indianapolis: 6060 Castleway West Dr Indianapolis, IN 46250

Florence: 8095 Connector Dr Florence, KY 41042

South Bend: 1030 East Jefferson Blvd South Bend, IN 46617

Earn Your Diploma from Home!

Programs : Medical Office Assistant, and more.

Campus Locations : Online

Founded in 1886, National College is dedicated to the training and education of men and women for a full life and a successful career in a number of fields in Business, Tech and Health Care

Programs : Medical Office Professional, Medical Assisting - Associate, and more.

Campus Locations :

Nashville: 1638 Bell Rd Nashville, TN 37211

As a student at South University, you will learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them.

Programs : Medical Assisting (AS), and more.

Campus Locations :

Montgomery: 5355 Vaughn Road Montgomery, AL 36116

Savannah: 709 Mall Road Savannah, GA 31406

Columbia: 9 Science Court Columbia, SC 29203

Take a step forward in your career with Bryan University.

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

Campus Locations :

Springfield: 4255 Nature Center Way Springfield, MO 65806

Topeka: 1527 S.W. Fairlawn Rd. Topeka, KS 66604

With more than 300 online and residential areas of study, Liberty offers programs from the certificate to doctoral level.

Programs : AA: Medical Office Assistance, and more.

Campus Locations : Online

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