About Dental Assistant Careers
Having to go through any sort of dental procedure can be extremely scary and nerve racking for anyone. The anxiety alone is enough to cause many people to cancel or constantly reschedule their appointments. This is where the dental assistant has their moment to shine. Before patients even get to see their dentists, they have interaction with their assistants. Because of this, it takes a very special person to go into this field.
Roles and Responsibilities
Many times dental assistants are confused with dental hygienists. The difference between the two careers is the roles each position entails. As an assistant, one is responsible for preparing the patients for their appointments and making them feel comfortable and relaxed. They are also responsible for sterilizing and disinfecting any equipment that will be used doing procedures, organizing the setup tray, handing tools to the dentist when needed and keeping the patient’s mouth dry by using a suction device.
An assistant may also be required to perform laboratory duties such as making crowns and taking the teeth impressions of the patient. They may be asked to make preparations for x-rays and radiographs as well. Some office duties may also be asked of a dental assistant. These could include scheduling and confirming appointments, keeping patient records up to date, sending bills and receiving payments, ordering supplies and greeting and receiving patients as they enter the office.
A dental assistant working in Houston can expect to earn roughly $30,790 annually. (Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.) Currently Houston has one of the highest employment levels in America for dental assisting with over 6,000 dental assistants employed in the Houston metro area. Assistants with more skills and experience have potential to earn up to $43,880 a year.
Much of the knowledge a dental assistant obtains comes from on the job training. However, taking courses at a local community college or trade school would be beneficial before training in the field. Before attending these classes, a high school diploma or GED is needed. Many states, including Texas require certification before one is allowed to work in certain areas of this field.
There are many options to choose from in order to cover the costs for the education in the field. Students may apply for scholarships, student loans and grants. Federal financial aid is available for many and some schools offer a work study program where you are able to earn money while earning your education at the same time.
Dental Assistant Schools in or near Houston
At Brightwood College, we offer accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience focused on helping you gain skills for your chosen career.
We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood College focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.
Within the classroom, it is our mission to not only provide vocational training, but to help you develop the professional skills, values, attitudes and strategies that will enhance your potential for success on campus, in your career and through life.
The success of our students is our greatest success. Because when our students succeed, we’ve completed the job we set out to do: empower the courageous, and enable real and relevant change.
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