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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Sacramento, California

Dental assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Sacramento, California area. About 41,600 people are currently employed as dental assistants in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 35% to about 56,100 people employed. 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.

The income of a dental assistant is about $15 per hour or $32,260 yearly on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 per hour or $32,380 annually on average. 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: orthodontist assistant, oral and maxiofacial surgical assistant, and certified dental assistant .

The Sacramento area is home to forty-two schools of higher education, including eight within twenty-five miles of Sacramento where you can get a degree as a dental assistant. The most common level of education 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 Sacramento 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.
  • Psychiatric Aide. Assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dental Assistant Training

Kaplan College-Stockton - Stockton, CA

Kaplan College-Stockton, 722 W. March Ln, Stockton, CA 95207. Kaplan College-Stockton is a small college located in Stockton, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 475 students. Kaplan College-Stockton has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated sixty-eight students in 2008.

High-Tech Institute-Sacramento - Sacramento, CA

High-Tech Institute-Sacramento, 9738 Lincoln Village Drive #100, Sacramento, CA 95827. High-Tech Institute-Sacramento is a small school located in Sacramento, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 613 students. High-Tech Institute-Sacramento has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fifty-three students in 2008.

Sacramento City College - Sacramento, CA

Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822-1386. Sacramento City College is a large college located in Sacramento, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,175 students. Sacramento City College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated four, seven, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Western Career College-Citrus Heights - Citrus Heights, CA

Western Career College-Citrus Heights, 7301 Greenback Lane-Ste A, Citrus Heights, CA 95621. Western Career College-Citrus Heights is a small college located in Citrus Heights, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 774 students and an admission rate of 100%. Western Career College-Citrus Heights has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seventy-six students in 2008.

Heald College-Stockton - Stockton, CA

Heald College-Stockton, 1605 E March Ln, Stockton, CA 95210. Heald College-Stockton is a small college located in Stockton, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,172 students. Heald College-Stockton has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated zero and seventeen students respectively in 2008.

Kaplan College-Sacramento Campus - Sacramento, CA

Kaplan College-Sacramento Campus, 4330 Watt Ave., Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95821. Kaplan College-Sacramento Campus is a small college located in Sacramento, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 552 students. Kaplan College-Sacramento Campus has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty-seven students in 2008.

San Joaquin Valley College-Rancho Cordova - Rancho Cordova, CA

San Joaquin Valley College-Rancho Cordova, 11050 Olson Dr Ste 100, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670. San Joaquin Valley College-Rancho Cordova is a small college located in Rancho Cordova, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 296 students. San Joaquin Valley College-Rancho Cordova has an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

Western Career College-Sacramento - Sacramento, CA

Western Career College-Sacramento, 8909 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95826. Western Career College-Sacramento is a small college located in Sacramento, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 1,538 students and an admission rate of 100%. Western Career College-Sacramento has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 106 and two students respectively 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: Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California
Sacramento, California photo by Urdangaray

Sacramento is located in Sacramento County, California. It has a population of over 463,794, which has grown by 13.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Sacramento, 93, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Sacramento are valued at $185,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, nine hundred thirty-four new homes were constructed in Sacramento, down from 1,337 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Sacramento are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 23.9% of Sacramento residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Sacramento is 14.7%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Sacramento residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 36.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Pearly Gate Missionary Baptist Church, Peace Lutheran Church and Parkview Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Sacramento. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Assemblies of God.

Sacramento is home to the Southern Pacific Shops and the Bing Maloney Golf Course as well as Alkali Flat North Historic District and Silva Field. Shopping centers in the area include Farmers Center Shopping Center, Florin Square Shopping Center and Franklin and Florin Shopping Center. Visitors to Sacramento can choose from Best Western Sutter House, Best for Less Motel-Cababa Lodge and AAA Residence Inn for temporary stays in the area.