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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Phoenix, Arizona

There are many career and education opportunities for dental assistants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. There are currently 6,310 jobs for dental assistants in Arizona and this is projected to grow by 48% to about 9,310 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dental assistants are expected to grow by about 35.8%. Dental assistants generally assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

Dental assistants earn about $16 hourly or $34,780 annually on average in Arizona and about $15 hourly or $32,380 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for dental assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Arizona and better than general Medical and Dental Assistance category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: surgical dental assistant, dental nurse, and oral and maxiofacial surgical assistant.

The Phoenix area is home to seventy-six schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of Phoenix where you can get a degree as a dental assistant. Given that the most common education level for dental assistants is a post-secondary certificate, it will take a short time to learn to be a dental assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dental Assistant

Dental Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, dental assistants assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

Dental assistants ready patients, sterilize and disinfect instruments, prepare instrument trays and assist dentists during dental procedures. They also expose dental diagnostic x-rays. Equally important, dental assistants have to provide postoperative instructions prescribed by dentists. They are often called upon to pour and polish study casts. They are expected to record treatment data in patient archives. Finally, dental assistants order and monitor dental supplies and apparatus inventory.

Every day, dental assistants are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for dental assistants to take and record medical and dental histories and vital signs of patients. They are often called upon to instruct patients in oral hygiene and plaque control programs. They also clean and polish removable appliances. They are sometimes expected to schedule appointments, ready bills and receive payment for dental services, complete insurance forms, and maintain records, manually or using computer. Somewhat less frequently, dental assistants are also expected to apply protective coating of fluoride to teeth.

and make preliminary impressions for study casts and occlusal registrations for mounting study casts. And finally, they sometimes have to clean and polish removable appliances.

Like many other jobs, dental assistants must have a strong concern for others and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Phoenix include:

  • Medical Assistant. Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.
  • Medical Equipment Technician. Prepare, sterilize, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment. May perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dental Assistant Training

Rio Salado College - Tempe, AZ

Rio Salado College, 2323 W 14th St, Tempe, AZ 85281. Rio Salado College is a large college located in Tempe, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,186 students. Rio Salado College has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Arizona College of Allied Health - Glendale, AZ

Arizona College of Allied Health, 4425 W Olive Avenue Suite 300, Glendale, AZ 85302. Arizona College of Allied Health is a small college located in Glendale, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 178 students. Arizona College of Allied Health has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

The Bryman School of Arizona - Phoenix, AZ

The Bryman School of Arizona, 2250 W. Peoria Ave. A-100, Phoenix, AZ 85029. The Bryman School of Arizona is a small school located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 682 students. The Bryman School of Arizona has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Pima Medical Institute - Mesa, AZ

Pima Medical Institute, 957 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ 85202. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Mesa, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 883 students. Pima Medical Institute has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated sixty-five students in 2008.

Phoenix College - Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix College, 1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013. Phoenix College is a large college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,917 students. Phoenix College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seventeen and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Apollo College-Phoenix Inc - Phoenix, AZ

Apollo College-Phoenix Inc, 8503 N 27th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85051-4063. Apollo College-Phoenix Inc is a small college located in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 3,917 students and an admission rate of 99%. Apollo College-Phoenix Inc has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 275 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Associate Fellow: Your Associate Fellow certificate lets your patients know that you are an experienced, credentialed implant professional.

For more information, see the American Academy of Implant Dentistry website.

Registered Dental Assistant: A Dental Assistant is an integral member of the dental health team, competent via education, experience, and understanding of patient welfare.

For more information, see the American Medical Technologists website.

Certified Othodontic Assistant: The COA examination in Orthodontic Assisting was added in 1986 to offer credentialing for assistants specializing in orthodontic assisting procedures.

For more information, see the Dental Assisting National Board website.

Certified Dental Technician: Certification is the process of assessing a dental technician's knowledge and applied skill level necessary to perform the tasks required of a dental technician.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology website.

LICENSES

Dental Assistant - Radiography, Coronal Polishing (Certification)

Licensing agency: Dental Examiners, Board of
Address: 5060 N 19th Avenue, Suite 406, Phoenix, AZ 85015

Phone: (602) 242-1492
Website: Dental Examiners, Board of

LOCATION INFORMATION: Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona photo by Urban

Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, Arizona. It has a population of over 1,567,924, which has grown by 18.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Phoenix, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Phoenix cost $218,200 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, 2,176 new homes were built in Phoenix, down from 6,560 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Phoenix are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, administrative and support and waste management services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 22.7% of Phoenix residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Phoenix is 10.0%, which is greater than Arizona's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Phoenix residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. San Francisco Xavier and Good Shepherd Convent are among the churches located in Phoenix. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Phoenix is home to the Arizona Highway Patrol Headquarters and the Gila Valley Lookout as well as Indian Bend Park and Stephen Park. Shopping centers in the area include Alta Vista Shopping Center, Arcadia Plaza Shopping Center and Arcadia Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Phoenix can choose from Four Seasons Limousine LLC, Maricopa Manor B&B Inn and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.