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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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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

Melrose Park: 8317 W. North Avenue Melrose Park, IL 60160

Get hands-on training with Remington College.

Programs : Diploma in Dental Assisting, AAS in Clinical Medical Assisting, Diploma in Medical Assisting with X-Ray Tech (Limited Scope), and more..

Campus Locations :

Houston: 11310 Greens Crossing Houston, TX 77041

Nashville: 441 Donelson Pike Nashville, TN 37214

Tampa: 2410 E. Busch Boulevard Tampa, FL 33612

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

Cleveland: 14445 Broadway Avenue Cleveland, OH 44125

Columbia: 607 Bush River Road Columbia, SC 29210

Memphis: 2710 Nonconnah Blvd. Memphis, TN 38132

Honolulu: 1111 Bishop Street Suite 400 Honolulu, HI 96813

Baton Rouge: 1900 N. Lobdell Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Garland: 1800 Eastgate Drive Garland, TX 75041

Lafayette: 303 Rue Louis XIV Lafayette, LA 70508

Shreveport: 2106 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop Shreveport, LA 71118

Little Rock: 19 Remington Road Little Rock, AR 72204

Mobile: 828 Downtowner Loop West Mobile, AL 36609

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 - (AAS), Dental Assistant, and more..

Campus Locations :

Orlando: 3444 McCrory Place Orlando, FL 32803

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

Aurora: 111 Havana Aurora, CO 80010

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

Jacksonville: 7259 Salisbury Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32256

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

Portland: 1425 NE Irving Street Portland, OR 97232

Kansas City: 3239 Broadway Kansas City, MO 64111

Tampa: 4202 West Spruce Tampa, FL 33607

North Hollywood: 12412 Victory Blvd North Hollywood, CA 91606

Grand Prairie: 3015 W. Interstate 20, Grand Prairie, TX 75052

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

Westwood College is dedicated to preparing students with the knowledge, skills and training needed for meaningful employment. Through education, we create opportunities, change lives and impact futures.

Programs : Dental Assisting (A), Healthcare Office Administration (A), Medical Assisting (D), and more..

Campus Locations :

Arlington: 1901 North Ft. Myer Arlington, VA 22209

Atlanta: 1100 Spring Street Suite 102 Atlanta, GA 30309

Annandale: 7619 Little River Turnpike Suite 500 Annandale, VA 22003

Chicago: 8501 W. Higgins Road Chicago, IL 60631

Woodridge: 7155 Janes Ave Woodridge, IL 60517

Calumet City: 80 River Oaks Center Calumet City, IL 60409

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

Tucson: 3350 E. Grant Road Tucson, AZ 85716

Mesa: 957 S. Dobson Road Mesa, AZ 85202

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

Denver: 7475 Dakin Street Suite 100 Denver, CO 80221

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

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

Albuquerque: 4400 Cutler Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87110

Houston: 10201 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77024

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

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

Programs : Dental Assistant Program, Dental Assistant, Dental Assisting, and more..

Campus Locations :

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

Orange Park: 560 Wells Road Orange Park, FL 32073

Montgomery: 3736 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109

Columbia: 246 Stoneridge Drive Suite 101 Columbia, SC 29210

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

Wayne: 201 Willowbrook Blvd. Wayne, NJ 07470

Erie: 5757 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16506

Smyrna: 21088 Cobb Parkway Smyrna, GA 30080

Cuyahoga Falls: 2545 Bailey Road Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

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

Scranton: 517 Ash Street Scranton, PA 18509

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

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

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

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

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

Mobile: 3590 Pleasant Valley Road Mobile, AL 36609

Birmingham: 100 London Parkway Birmingham, AL 35211

Hyattsville: 4351 Garden City Drive Hyattsville, MD 20785

Towson: 700 York Road Towson, MD 21204

Salt Lake City: 3949 South 700 East Salt Lake City, UT 84107

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

Dothan: 200 Vulcan Way Dothan, AL 36303

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

Largo: 6565 Ulmerton Road Largo, FL 33771

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

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

Kingston: 166 Slocum Street Kingston, PA 18704

Ravenna: 653 Enterprise Parkway Ravenna, OH 44266

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

Foley: 200 East Laurel Ave Foley, AL 36535

Start a great career in healthcare with Medical Careers Institute.

Programs : Dental Assisting - Associate, Medical Assisting - Associate, and more..

Campus Locations :

Manassas: 10021 Balls Ford Road #100 Manassas, VA 20109

Newport News: 1001 Omni Boulevard Suite #200 Newport News, VA 23606

Henrico: 2809 Emerywood Parkway Suite #400 Henrico, VA 23294

Virginia Beach: 5501 Greenwich Road Suite #100 Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Charlotte: 4800 Airport Center Parkway #100 Charlotte, NC 28208

North Charleston: 7410 Northside Drive #G101 North Charleston, SC 29420

Greensboro: 7802 Airport Center Drive Greensboro, NC 27409

Greenville: 1001 Keys Drive #100 Greenville, SC 29615

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

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

Campus Locations :

Brockton: 375 Westgate Drive Brockton, MA 02301

Casselberry: 7275 Estapona Circle Casselberry, FL 32730

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

Lowell: 211 Plain Street Lowell, MA 01852

Mount Laurel: 1000 Howard Boulevard Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Allentown: 5151 Tilghman Street Allentown, PA 18104

Somerville: 5 Middlesex Ave Somerville, MA 02145

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

Philadelphia: 2180 Hornig Road Philadelphia, PA 19116

Shelton: 8 Progress Drive Shelton, CT 06484

Edison: 1697 Oak Tree Road Edison, NJ 08820

Paramus: 160 E. Route 4 Paramus, NJ 07652

Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.

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

Campus Locations :

Norcross: Norcross, GA

Sanford-Brown can help prepare you for a rewarding career in health and dental care, business, paralegal, criminal justice, Design & Media Arts or information technology.

Programs : Certificate in Dental Assisting, Diploma in Dental Assisting with Expanded Functions, Diploma in Medical Assistant, and more..

Campus Locations :

Dallas: 1250 Mockingbird Lane Dallas, TX 75247

Tampa: 7702 Woodland Center Blvd., Suite 100 Tampa, FL 33614

Jacksonville: 10255 Fortune Pkwy #501, Jacksonville, FL 32256

Atlanta: 1140 Hammond Drive, Suite A-11 Atlanta, GA 30328

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