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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

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 :

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

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

Bremerton: 155 Washington Avenue Suite 200 Bremerton, WA 98337

Woodbridge: 14555 Potomac Mills Road Woodbridge, VA 22192

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

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

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

Springfield: 1010 West Sunshine Springfield, MO 65807

Atlanta: 2841 Greenbriar Parkway SW Atlanta, GA 30331

Portland: 425 SW Washington Street Portland, OR 97204

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

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

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

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

Denver: 9065 Grant St. Denver, CO 80229

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

Dallas: 6060 N. Central Expressway Dallas, TX 75206

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

Explore a new career with Pima Medical Institute.

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

Campus Locations :

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

Albuquerque: 4400 Cutler Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87110

Houston: 10201 Katy Freeway Houston, TX 77024

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

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

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

Denver: 7475 Dakin Street Suite 100 Denver, CO 80221

Tucson: 3350 E. Grant Road Tucson, AZ 85716

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

Mesa: 957 S. Dobson Road Mesa, AZ 85202

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

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

Brockton: 375 Westgate Drive Brockton, MA 02301

Edison: 1697 Oak Tree Road Edison, NJ 08820

Somerville: 5 Middlesex Ave Somerville, MA 02145

Allentown: 5151 Tilghman Street Allentown, PA 18104

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

Philadelphia: 2180 Hornig Road Philadelphia, PA 19116

Mount Laurel: 1000 Howard Boulevard Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Shelton: 8 Progress Drive Shelton, CT 06484

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 :

Nashville: 441 Donelson Pike Nashville, TN 37214

Cleveland: 14445 Broadway Avenue Cleveland, OH 44125

Houston: 11310 Greens Crossing Houston, TX 77041

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

Shreveport: 2106 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop Shreveport, LA 71118

Memphis: 2710 Nonconnah Blvd. Memphis, TN 38132

Columbia: 607 Bush River Road Columbia, SC 29210

Lafayette: 303 Rue Louis XIV Lafayette, LA 70508

Honolulu: 1111 Bishop Street Suite 400 Honolulu, HI 96813

Garland: 1800 Eastgate Drive Garland, TX 75041

Mobile: 828 Downtowner Loop West Mobile, AL 36609

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

Houston: 255 Northpoint Drive Suite 100 Houston, TX 77060

Columbus: 825 Tech Center Drive Columbus, OH 43230

Southfield: 21107 Lahser Rd Southfield, MI 48033

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

Dearborn: 23400 Michigan Ave Suite 200 Dearborn, MI 48124

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

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

Pittsburgh: 100 Forbes Ave Suite 1200 Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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

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

Jonesboro: 6431 Tara Blvd Jonesboro, GA 30236

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

Rochester: 1630 Portland Ave Rochester, NY 14621

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 :

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

Morrow: 1564 Southlake Parkway Morrow, GA 30260

Riverside: 1860 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92507

Stockton: 4994 Claremont Avenue Stockton, CA 95207

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

Ontario: 3380 Shelby Street # 150 Ontario, CA 91764

Bakersfield: 3737 Rosedale Hwy Bakersfield, CA 93308

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

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

Encino: 5445 Balboa Blvd. Encino, CA 91316

Huntington Park: 6055 Pacific Boulevard Huntington Park, CA 90255

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

San Marcos: 2085 Montiel Road San Marcos, CA 92069

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 :

Chattanooga: 6020 Shallowford Road Suite 100 Chattanooga, TN 37421

Columbus: 1800 Box Road Columbus, GA 31907

Clarksville: 1820 Business Park Drive Clarksville, TN 37040

Augusta: 621 NW Frontage Rd. Augusta, GA 30907

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

Conway: 2451 Highway 501 East Conway, SC 29526

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

Lynchburg: 1011 Creekside Lane Lynchburg, VA 24502

Roanoke: 4444 Electric Road, SW Roanoke, VA 24018

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 :

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

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

Birmingham: 100 London Parkway Birmingham, AL 35211

Montgomery: 3736 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109

Cincinnati: 11499 Chester Road Suite 200 Cincinnati, OH 45246

Orange Park: 560 Wells Road Orange Park, FL 32073

Wayne: 201 Willowbrook Blvd. Wayne, NJ 07470

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

Erie: 5757 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16506

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

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

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

Scranton: 517 Ash Street Scranton, PA 18509

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

Hyattsville: 4351 Garden City Drive Hyattsville, MD 20785

Mobile: 3590 Pleasant Valley Road Mobile, AL 36609

Columbia: 246 Stoneridge Drive Suite 101 Columbia, SC 29210

Towson: 700 York Road Towson, MD 21204

Cuyahoga Falls: 2545 Bailey Road Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

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

Smyrna: 21088 Cobb Parkway Smyrna, GA 30080

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

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

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

Ravenna: 653 Enterprise Parkway Ravenna, OH 44266

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

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

Dothan: 200 Vulcan Way Dothan, AL 36303

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

Kingston: 166 Slocum Street Kingston, PA 18704

Foley: 200 East Laurel Ave Foley, AL 36535

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

Cookeville: 1025 Hwy. 111 Cookeville, TN 38501

  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 :

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

Des Moines: 7000 Fleur Drive Des Moines, IA 50321

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

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

Tulsa: 4343 S. 118th E. Avenue Suite A Tulsa, OK 74146

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

Memphis: 2655 Dividend Drive Memphis, TN 38132

Quincy: 3609 North Marx Drive Quincy, IL 62305

Joplin: 809 Illinois Avenue Joplin, MO 64801

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

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Dental Assistant Vocational & Trade Schools by Canadian Province

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