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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Palm Bay, Florida

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for dental assistants in the Palm Bay, Florida area. Currently, 14,630 people work as dental assistants in Florida. This is expected to grow by 32% to 19,320 people 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.

Dental assistants earn approximately $16 per hour or $33,290 annually on average in Florida. Nationally they average about $15 hourly or $32,380 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance, people working as dental assistants in Florida earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance nationally. Dental assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: certified registered dental assistant, oral surgery assistant, and orthodontic assistant.

The Palm Bay area is home to five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Palm Bay 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, 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 Palm Bay 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

Brevard Community College - Cocoa, FL

Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922. Brevard Community College is a large college located in Cocoa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,607 students. Brevard Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty-two and zero 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Palm Bay, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida photo by Cwolfsheep

Palm Bay is located in Brevard County, Florida. It has a population of over 100,786, which has grown by 26.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Palm Bay, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Palm Bay are priced at $195,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred ninety-two new homes were built in Palm Bay, down from seven hundred thirty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Palm Bay are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 16.7% of Palm Bay residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Palm Bay is 11.9%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Palm Bay residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.2%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Palm Bay is home to the Country Club Plaza and the Port Malabar Plaza. Shopping malls in the area include Palm Bay Shopping Center and Port Malabar Shopping Center. Visitors to Palm Bay can choose from Bay Breeze Restaurant and Bleachers Sports Bar & Grill for temporary stays in the area.