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Dental Assistant Job Description

Become a Dental Assistant

Additional Dental Assisting Resources...

Dental Assistants work closely with both dentists and patients. They are responsible for preparing the equipment and prepping the patients for each unique procedure. You will assist the dentist at chair side, as well as perform your own procedures, under the supervision of a dentist. Typical duties of a dental assistant include sterilizing dental instruments and equipment, handing instruments to the dentist during procedures, keeping the patients mouth clear and dry using suction, and counseling the patient on good oral health care practices. Some dental assistants perform other tasks such as dental radiography, reversible intra-oral procedures, removing sutures, and making molds of the teeth and gums from impressions. Outside of the exam room, the duties of a dental assistant include keeping records of items such as exams, appointments, supplies and treatments.

The work schedule for a dental assistant can be very flexible. About half of them work a 35-40 hour work week, however, there are opportunities to work part time and even on Saturdays. One option is to work for multiple offices to help tailor your schedule to fit your lifestyle.

Dental Assistant Education and Training

Many of the skills you need as a dental assistant are learned on the job, however, dental assisting programs are becoming increasingly popular. As dentists look to expand the roles and responsibilities of their dental assistants, they are going to take look for those that have some level of formal training. All dental assisting programs require students to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most programs can be completed in one year or less and will include classroom, laboratory, and pre clinical instruction, as well as hands on training.

Dental Assistant Salary and Job Outlook

According the the National Employment Matrix, the average hourly wage for a dental assistant was $14.43 in 2006 and average annual salaries ranged from $20,530 to $43,040 depending upon education, experience and location.

Job opportunities for dental assistants look to be abundant in the coming years. The National Employment Matrix projects that by the year 2016 there will be a need for 362,000 dental assistants. This is a 29% increase in just ten short years. This growth is much faster than the average growth for other occupations. The need for dental assistants is a growing one. In this unstable economy, a dental assistant career can offer security for a long time to come.

View Campus Schools by State


Sample of Accredited Dental Assisting Programs Listed by State


Alabama

Fortis College

Campus:  Mobile

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Brown Mackie College

Campus:  Birmingham

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Fortis Institute

Campus:  Birmingham

Program:

  • Dental Assisting

Arizona

Arizona College

Campuses:  Glendale | Mesa

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Carrington College

Campuses:  Mesa | Tucson | Phoenix

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Pima Medical Institute

Campuses:  Tucson | Mesa

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

California

Carrington College California

Campuses:  San Leandro | Antioch | Emeryville | Pleasant Hill | Stockton | San Jose | Citrus Heights | Sacramento | Pomona

Programs:

  • Dental Assisting - Associate
  • Dental Assisting - Certificate

Heald College

Campuses:  Stockton | Modesto | Concord | Hayward

Programs:

  • Associate's in Dental Assisting
  • Diploma in Dental Assisting

San Joaquin Valley College

Campuses:  Fresno | Bakersfield | Visalia

Programs:

  • Associate's - Dental Assisting
  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Milan Institute

Campuses:  Palm Desert | Visalia

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Kaplan College

Campuses:  Bakersfield | Vista | Riverside | Sacramento | Modesto | San Diego | Fresno | Palm Springs

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

Pima Medical Institute

Campus:  Chula Vista

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Newbridge College

Campus:  San Diego East

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Concorde Career College

Campuses:  San Diego | North Hollywood

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

American Career College

Campuses:  Inland Empire | Los Angeles | Orange County | Long Beach

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Colorado

Pima Medical Institute

Campuses:  Colorado Springs | Denver

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate
  • Expanded Duties Dental Assistant - Certificate

IntelliTec Colleges

Campuses:  Grand Junction | Pueblo

Programs:

  • Certificate - Dental Assistant
  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Concorde Career College

Campus:  Aurora

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Everest College

Campuses:  Colorado Springs | Aurora

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Heritage College

Campus:  Denver

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assisting and Radiology

Delaware

Harris School of Business

Campus:  Wilmington

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Dawn Career Institute

Campus:  Campus

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assistant

Florida

Sanford-Brown Institute

Campus:  Tampa

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assisting with Expanded Functions

Everest University

Campuses:  Largo | Jacksonville

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Fortis College

Campus:  Orange Park

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Kaplan College

Campus:  Jacksonville

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

Concorde Career Institute

Campuses:  Jacksonville | Miramar | Orlando

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Ultimate Medical Academy

Campuses:  Clearwater | Tampa

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

ATA Career Education

Campus:  Spring Hill

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Heritage Institute

Campuses:  Fort Myers | Jacksonville

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assisting and Radiology

Remington College

Campus:  Tampa

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assisting

Georgia

Everest Institute

Campus:  Norcross

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Fortis College

Campus:  Atlanta

Program:

  • Certificate in Dental Assistant

Everest College

Campus:  Atlanta West

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Hawaii

Heald College

Campus:  Honolulu

Program:

  • Associate's in Dental Assisting

Idaho

Carrington College

Campus:  Boise

Programs:

  • Associate's - Dental Assisting
  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Milan Institute

Campus:  Nampa

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Illinois

Everest College

Campuses:  Bedford Park | Burr Ridge | Melrose Park | Merrionette Park | Skokie | North Aurora

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Indiana

Everest College

Campus:  Merrillville

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Fortis College

Campus:  Indianapolis

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Kaplan College

Campus:  Hammond

Program:

  • Dental Assisting

Iowa

Vatterott College

Campus:  Des Moines

Program:

  • Associate's in Dental Assistant Specialist

Kansas

Heritage College

Campus:  Wichita

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assisting and Radiology

Pinnacle Career Institute

Campus:  Lawrence

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Kentucky

ATA College

Campus:  Louisville

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Lincoln College of Technology

Campus:  Northern Kentucky (Florence)

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Maryland

All-State Career

Campus:  Baltimore

Programs:

  • Dental Assisting - Certificate
  • Expanded Function Dental Assistant - Diploma

Fortis College

Campus:  Landover

Program:

  • Diploma in Expanded Function Dental Assistant

Fortis Institute

Campus:  Towson

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assistant

American Career Institute

Campus:  Silver Spring

Program:

  • Certificate in Dental Assisting

Massachusetts

Everest Institute

Campuses:  Chelsea | Brighton

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

American Career Institute

Campuses:  Springfield | Braintree | Cambridge | Framingham | Woburn

Program:

  • Certificate in Dental Assisting

Lincoln Technical Institute

Campus:  Lowell (Northern MA/NH)

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Michigan

Everest Institute

Campuses:  Dearborn | Southfield | Grand Rapids | Kalamazoo

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Dorsey Schools

Campus:  Roseville

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Minnesota

Herzing University

Campus:  Minneapolis

Programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting
  • Diploma in Dental Assisting

Missouri

Missouri College

Campus:  Brentwood

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Vatterott College

Campus:  Springfield

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Concorde Career College

Campus:  Kansas City

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma
  • Dental Assisting - Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

Everest College

Campuses:  Kansas City | St Louis | Springfield

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Nebraska

Kaplan University

Campus:  Omaha

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Vatterott College

Campus:  Omaha

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Nevada

Pima Medical Institute

Campus:  Las Vegas

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Northwest Health Careers

Campus:  Las Vegas

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Milan Institute

Campuses:  Las Vegas | Sparks

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

New Hampshire

Seacoast Career Schools

Campus:  Manchester

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

New Jersey

Fortis Institute

Campuses:  Wayne | Lawrenceville

Programs:

  • Certificate - Dental Assistant
  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Everest Institute

Campus:  South Plainfield

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Central Career School

Campus:  South Plainfield

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Harris School of Business

Campus:  Voorhees

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

New Mexico

Carrington College

Campus:  Albuquerque

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Pima Medical Institute

Campus:  Albuquerque

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

New York

New York School for Medical and Dental Assistants

Campus:  Long Island City

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Saint Paul's School of Nursing

Campus:  Staten Island

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Ohio

Everest Institute

Campus:  Gahanna

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Fortis College

Campuses:  Cincinnati | Cuyahoga Falls

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Brown Mackie College

Campus:  Findlay

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Kaplan College

Campus:  Dayton

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

Herzing University

Campus:  Akron Institute

Programs:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting
  • Diploma in Dental Assisting

Oklahoma

Platt College

Campuses:  Central | Lawton | Moore | Tulsa

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Oregon

Carrington College

Campus:  Portland

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Heald College

Campus:  Portland

Program:

  • Associate's in Dental Assisting

Pennsylvania

All-State Career

Campus:  Essington

Program:

  • Expanded Function Dental Assistant - Diploma

Harris School of Business

Campus:  Upper Darby

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Fortis Institute

Campus:  Scranton

Program:

  • Diploma - Expanded Function Dental Assistant

YTI Career Institute

Campuses:  Altoona Campus | Lancaster Campus

Program:

  • Dental Assisting - Diploma

Everest Institute

Campus:  Bensalem

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Kaplan Career Institute

Campuses:  Broomall | Philadelphia

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

South Carolina

Fortis College

Campus:  Columbia

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Tennessee

Kaplan Career Institute

Campus:  Nashville

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

Daymar Institute

Campuses:  Clarksville | Nashville | Murfreesboro

Programs:

  • Associate's - Dental Assisting
  • Certificate - Dental Assisting
  • Diploma - Dental Assisting

Remington College

Campus:  Nashville

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assisting

Texas

Everest College

Campuses:  Fort Worth | Fort Worth South

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Everest Institute

Campuses:  Houston Greenspoint | Austin | Houston Hobby

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Milan Institute

Campus:  Amarillo

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Vista College

Campuses:  El Paso | Longview

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant - Associate's
  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

Kaplan College

Campuses:  El Paso | McAllen | San Antonio - San Pedro | Lubbock | Arlington | Fort Worth | Beaumont

Programs:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma
  • Dental Assisting

Texas School of Business

Campuses:  North Houston | Friendswood

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Pima Medical Institute

Campus:  Houston

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Concorde Career College

Campus:  San Antonio

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Carrington College

Campus:  Mesquite

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Fortis Institute

Campus:  Houston North

Program:

  • Dental Assisting

Platt College

Campus:  Dallas

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

College of Health Care Professions

Campuses:  Austin | Houston NW | Houston SW | San Antonio | Dallas | Fort Worth

Program:

  • Associate - Dental Assistant

Utah

AmeriTech College

Campus:  Provo

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Diploma

Eagle Gate College

Campuses:  Salt Lake City Learning Site | Murray

Programs:

  • Associate's - Dental Assisting
  • Diploma - Dental Assisting

Provo College

Campus:  Provo

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assisting

Virginia

Fortis College

Campuses:  Norfolk | Richmond

Program:

  • Dental Assistant

Everest College

Campuses:  Chesapeake | Woodbridge

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

ECPI Medical Careers Institute

Campuses:  Newport News | Northern VA | Richmond West | Virginia Beach

Program:

  • Associate's - Dental Assisting

Centura College

Campus:  Richmond Southside

Program:

  • Diploma in Dental Assistant

Washington

Carrington College

Campus:  Spokane

Program:

  • Certificate - Dental Assisting

Pima Medical Institute

Campuses:  Renton | Seattle

Program:

  • Dental Assistant - Certificate

Everest College

Campuses:  Bremerton | Everett | Renton

Program:

  • Diploma - Dental Assistant

Ontario

Everest College of Business, Technology and Health Care

Campuses:  Barrie | Brampton | Hamilton Mountain | Kitchener | Mississauga | Newmarket | North York | Ottawa East | Scarborough | Toronto College Park | Windsor

Program:

  • Diploma - Intra-Oral Level II Dental Assistant

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