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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.

CareerAnnual Median WageProjected Employment ChangeProjected 2012-2022 Growth
Dentists, General14634020,60016
*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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Welcome to Carrington College - The Starting Point for Health Care Careers.

Programs : Dental Assisting, Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, and more..

Campus Locations :

Phoenix: 8503 N 27th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85051

Spokane: 10102 E. Knox Suite 200 Spokane, WA 99206

San Jose: 6201 San Ignacio Ave. San Jose, CA 95119

San Leandro: 15555 E. 14th St., Suite 500 San Leandro, CA 94578

Tucson: 3550 N Oracle Road Tucson, AZ 85705

Mesa: 1322 South Country Club Drive Mesa, AZ 85210

Pleasant Hill: 380 Civic Drive, Suite 300 Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Boise: 1200 North Liberty Boise, ID 83704

Sacramento: 8909 Folsom Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95826

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 (8-Month Diploma Program), Medical Assistant (8-Month Diploma Program), and more..

Campus Locations :

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

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

Morrow: 1564 Southlake Parkway Morrow, GA 30260

Encino: 5445 Balboa Blvd. Encino, CA 91316

San Marcos: 2085 Montiel Road San Marcos, CA 92069

Stockton: 4994 Claremont Avenue Stockton, CA 95207

Riverside: 1860 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92507

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

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

Huntington Park: 6055 Pacific Boulevard Huntington Park, CA 90255

Bakersfield: 3737 Rosedale Hwy Bakersfield, CA 93308

Ontario: 4730 Ontario Mills Parkway Ontario, CA 91764

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

Explore a new career with Pima Medical Institute.

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

Campus Locations :

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

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

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

Albuquerque: 4400 Cutler Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87110

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

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

Mesa: 957 S. Dobson Road Mesa, AZ 85202

Houston: 10201 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77024

Get hands-on training with Remington College.

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

Campus Locations :

Houston: 11310 Greens Crossing Houston, TX 77041

Nashville: 441 Donelson Pike Nashville, TN 37214

Cleveland: 14445 Broadway Avenue Cleveland, OH 44125

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

Shreveport: 2106 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop Shreveport, LA 71118

Columbia: 607 Bush River Road Columbia, SC 29210

Lafayette: 303 Rue Louis XIV Lafayette, LA 70508

Garland: 1800 Eastgate Drive Garland, TX 75041

Memphis: 2710 Nonconnah Blvd. Memphis, TN 38132

Mobile: 828 Downtowner Loop West Mobile, AL 36609

Honolulu: 1111 Bishop Street Suite 400 Honolulu, HI 96813

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

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

Houston: 255 Northpoint Drive Suite 100 Houston, TX 77060

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

Southfield: 21107 Lahser Rd Southfield, MI 48033

Dearborn: 23400 Michigan Ave Suite 200 Dearborn, MI 48124

Columbus: 825 Tech Center Drive Columbus, OH 43230

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

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

Jonesboro: 6431 Tara Blvd Jonesboro, GA 30236

Pittsburgh: 100 Forbes Ave Suite 1200 Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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

Rochester: 1630 Portland Ave Rochester, NY 14621

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

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

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

Campus Locations :

Lowell: 211 Plain Street Lowell, MA 01852

Somerville: 5 Middlesex Ave Somerville, MA 02145

Brockton: 375 Westgate Drive Brockton, MA 02301

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

Mount Laurel: 1000 Howard Boulevard Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Allentown: 5151 Tilghman Street Allentown, PA 18104

Shelton: 8 Progress Drive Shelton, CT 06484

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

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, Medical Office Professional - Diploma, Medical Assistant - Diploma, and more..

Campus Locations :

Portland: 1425 NE Irving Street Portland, OR 97232

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 :

Denver: 7350 North Broadway, Suite 1200 Denver, CO 80221

Arlington: 4420 North Fairfax Drive Arlington, VA 22203

Torrance: 19700 South Vermont Avenue #100 Suite 100 Torrance, CA 90502

Chicago: 1 North State Street, Suite 1000 Chicago, IL 60602

Aurora: 350 Blackhawk St. Aurora, CO 80011

Woodridge: 7155 Janes Ave Woodridge, IL 60517

Annandale: 7619 Little River Turnpike, Suite 50 Annandale, VA 22003

Atlanta: 2309 Parklake Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30345

Calumet City: 80 River Oaks Center Drive, Suite 111 Calumet City, IL 60409

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 :

San Francisco: 814 Mission Street Ste. 500 San Francisco, CA 94103

San Jose: 1245 South Winchester Blvd Ste 102 San Jose, CA 95128

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

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

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

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

Woodbridge: 14555 Potomac Mills Road Woodbridge, VA 22192

Atlanta: 2841 Greenbriar Parkway SW Atlanta, GA 30331

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

Los Angeles: 3460 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 500 Los Angeles, CA 90010

Bremerton: 155 Washington Avenue Suite 200 Bremerton, WA 98337

Springfield: 1010 West Sunshine Springfield, MO 65807

Tacoma: 2156 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA 98402

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

Denver: 9065 Grant St. Denver, CO 80229

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

Dallas: 6060 N. Central Expressway Dallas, TX 75206

Hayward: 22336 Main Street 1st Floor Hayward, CA 94541

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

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

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

Portland: 425 SW Washington Street Portland, OR 97204

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

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 : Expanded Functions Dental Assistant, Dental Assistant Program, Dental Assistant - Diploma, and more..

Campus Locations :

Montgomery: 3736 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109

Cincinnati: 11499 Chester Road Suite 200 Cincinnati, OH 45246

Cuyahoga Falls: 2545 Bailey Road Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

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

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

Erie: 5757 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16506

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

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

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

Birmingham: 100 London Parkway Birmingham, AL 35211

Mobile: 3590 Pleasant Valley Road Mobile, AL 36609

Orange Park: 560 Wells Road Orange Park, FL 32073

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

Towson: 700 York Road Towson, MD 21204

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

Scranton: 517 Ash Street Scranton, PA 18509

Hyattsville: 4351 Garden City Drive Hyattsville, MD 20785

Wayne: 201 Willowbrook Blvd. Wayne, NJ 07470

Columbia: 246 Stoneridge Drive Suite 101 Columbia, SC 29210

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

Smyrna: 21088 Cobb Parkway Smyrna, GA 30080

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

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

Kingston: 166 Slocum Street Kingston, PA 18704

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

Ravenna: 653 Enterprise Parkway Ravenna, OH 44266

Houston: 6220 Westpark Dr. Suite 180 Houston, TX 77057

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

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

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

Foley: 200 East Laurel Ave Foley, AL 36535

Dothan: 200 Vulcan Way Dothan, AL 36303

Cookeville: 1025 Hwy. 111 Cookeville, TN 38501

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Dental Assistant Vocational & Trade Schools by Canadian Province

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