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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Tampa, Florida

Dental assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Tampa, Florida. About 14,630 people are currently employed as dental assistants in Florida. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 32% to 19,320 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%. Dental assistants generally assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

Dental assistants earn approximately $16 hourly or $33,290 annually on average in Florida. Nationally they average about $15 per hour or $32,380 annually. 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. People working as dental assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: certified dental assistant , surgical dental assistant, and orthodontic assistant.

The Tampa area is home to fifty-four schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Tampa 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 Tampa 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

Central Florida Institute - Palm Harbor, FL

Central Florida Institute, 30522 US Hwy 19 N Ste 300, Palm Harbor, FL 34684-0000. Central Florida Institute is a small school located in Palm Harbor, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 598 students. Central Florida Institute has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty-six students in 2008.

Concorde Career Institute - Tampa, FL

Concorde Career Institute, 4202 W Spruce, Tampa, FL 33607. Concorde Career Institute is a small school located in Tampa, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 559 students and an admission rate of 100%. Concorde Career Institute has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated sixty-four students in 2008.

D G Erwin Technical Center - Tampa, FL

D G Erwin Technical Center, 2010 E Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33610-8255. D G Erwin Technical Center is a small school located in Tampa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 847 students. D G Erwin Technical Center has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

Pasco-Hernando Community College - New Port Richey, FL

Pasco-Hernando Community College, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey, FL 34654-5199. Pasco-Hernando Community College is a medium sized college located in New Port Richey, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,602 students. Pasco-Hernando Community College has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Sanford-Brown Institute - Tampa, FL

Sanford-Brown Institute, 5701 E. Hillsborough Ave. Suite 1417, Tampa, FL 33610-5428. Sanford-Brown Institute is a small school located in Tampa, Florida. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 845 students. Sanford-Brown Institute has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated forty-eight students in 2008.

Pinellas Technical Education Center - Saint Petersburg, FL

Pinellas Technical Education Center, 901 34th St S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711-2209. Pinellas Technical Education Center is a small school located in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 875 students. Pinellas Technical Education Center has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eight students in 2008.

Hillsborough Community College - Tampa, FL

Hillsborough Community College, 39 Columbia Drive, Tampa, FL 33606-3584. Hillsborough Community College is a large college located in Tampa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,037 students. Hillsborough Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seven 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: Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida photo by Caltrop

Tampa is located in Hillsborough County, Florida. It has a population of over 340,882, which has grown by 12.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tampa, 95, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Tampa are valued at $188,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Tampa, down from 1,008 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tampa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 25.4% of Tampa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tampa is 11.8%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Tampa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, Florida Tampa Mission and Most Holy Redeemer Church are among the churches located in Tampa. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Tampa is home to the Parkers Railroad Station and the Drew Station Railroad Station as well as Ybor City Museum State Park and American Legion Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Northgate Shopping Center, Old Hyde Park Village Shopping Center and Benttree Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Tampa can choose from Backstage Restaurant & Lounge, Baymont Tampa Busch Gardens and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.