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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Port St. Lucie, Florida

Dental assistants can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Port St. Lucie, Florida area. There are currently 14,630 working dental assistants in Florida; this should grow by 32% to about 19,320 working dental assistants in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for dental assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 35.8% over the next eight years. Dental assistants generally assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

Income for dental assistants is about $16 per hour or $33,290 per year on average in Florida. Nationally, their income is about $15 per hour or $32,380 annually. Earnings for dental assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Florida and better than general Medical and Dental Assistance category earnings nationally. People working as dental assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: certified dental assistant , certified registered dental assistant, and oral and maxiofacial surgical assistant.

The Port St. Lucie area is home to five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Port St. Lucie 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 Port St. Lucie 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

Indian River State College - Fort Pierce, FL

Indian River State College, 3209 Virginia Ave, Fort Pierce, FL 34981-5596. Indian River State College is a large college located in Fort Pierce, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 15,366 students. Indian River State College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eighteen 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie, Florida
Port St. Lucie, Florida photo by Bgag

Port St. Lucie is located in St. Lucie County, Florida. It has a population of over 154,353, which has grown by 73.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Port St. Lucie, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Port St. Lucie are valued at $113,200 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five hundred thirteen new homes were built in Port St. Lucie, down from 1,281 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Port St. Lucie are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 15.0% of Port St. Lucie residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Port St. Lucie is 13.0%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Port St. Lucie residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 38.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Port Saint Lucie Methodist Church, Saint Lucie Catholic Church and Unitarian Universalist Church Indian River are among the churches located in Port St. Lucie. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.