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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Fresno, California

Dental assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Fresno, California area. There are currently 41,600 working dental assistants in California; this should grow 35% to 56,100 working dental assistants in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dental assistants are expected to grow by about 35.8%. In general, dental assistants assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

A person working as a dental assistant can expect to earn about $15 hourly or $32,260 per year on average in California and about $15 hourly or $32,380 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Dental assistants earn more than people working in the category of Medical and Dental Assistance generally in California and more than people in the Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. Dental assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: orthodontic assistant, oral surgery assistant, and certified registered dental assistant.

The Fresno area is home to twenty-four schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Fresno where you can get a degree as a dental assistant. Dental assistants usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so you can expect to spend a short time training to become 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 Fresno 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

Kaplan College-Fresno - Clovis, CA

Kaplan College-Fresno, 44 Shaw Avenue, Clovis, CA 93612. Kaplan College-Fresno is a small college located in Clovis, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 584 students. Kaplan College-Fresno has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated sixty-one students in 2008.

San Joaquin Valley College-Fresno - Fresno, CA

San Joaquin Valley College-Fresno, 295 E Sierra Ave, Fresno, CA 93710-3616. San Joaquin Valley College-Fresno is a small college located in Fresno, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 832 students. San Joaquin Valley College-Fresno has an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Reedley College - Reedley, CA

Reedley College, 995 N Reed Ave, Reedley, CA 93654. Reedley College is a large college located in Reedley, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,174 students. Reedley College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated nineteen, six, and zero students respectively in 2008.

MCed Career College - Fresno, CA

MCed Career College, 2002 N Gateway Blvd, Fresno, CA 93727. MCed Career College is a small college located in Fresno, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 256 students and an admission rate of 92%. MCed Career College has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

Galen College of Medical and Dental Assistants - Fresno, CA

Galen College of Medical and Dental Assistants, 1325 N Wishon Ave, Fresno, CA 93728. Galen College of Medical and Dental Assistants is a small college located in Fresno, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 100 students. Galen College of Medical and Dental Assistants has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty-one 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 - Registered

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Committee on Dental Auxiliaries, 1428 Howe Avenue, Suite 58, Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: (916) 263-2595
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

Extended Functions - Dental Auxiliaries (Dental Assistant)

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Committee on Dental Auxiliaries, 1428 Howe Avenue, Suite 58, Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: (916) 263-2595
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

Registered Dental Hygienists in Alternative Practice (RDHAP)

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Committee on Dental Auxiliaries, 1428 Howe Avenue, Suite 58, Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: (916) 263-2595
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fresno, California

Fresno, California
Fresno, California photo by Cadking3

Fresno is situated in Fresno County, California. It has a population of over 476,050, which has grown by 11.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Fresno, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Fresno are valued at $156,200 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,230 new homes were constructed in Fresno, down from 2,016 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Fresno are health care, educational services, and social assistance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 19.0% of Fresno residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fresno is 14.8%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Fresno residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.5%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Pearlygrove Baptist Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Golden Harvest Church of God in Christ are all churches located in Fresno. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Fresno is home to the Cribari Winery and the Aspen Hall as well as Beiden Field and Woodward Park. Shopping malls in the area include Figarden Shopping Center, First And Shaw Shopping Center and Fresno Fashion Fair Shopping Center. Visitors to Fresno can choose from Bedding & Fine Furniture, Best Budget Inn and Best Value Water Tree Inn for temporary stays in the area.