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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in St. Louis, Missouri

Dental assistants can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the St. Louis, Missouri area. About 4,750 people are currently employed as dental assistants in Missouri. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 11% to 5,280 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 about $15 hourly or $31,470 yearly on average in Missouri and about $15 per hour or $32,380 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance, people working as dental assistants in Missouri 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: dental aide, expanded functions dental assistant , and expanded duties dental assistant .

There are seventy-one schools of higher education in the St. Louis area, including eight within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can get a degree to start your career 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 St. Louis 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

Missouri College - Brentwood, MO

Missouri College, 1405 South Hanley, Brentwood, MO 63144. Missouri College is a small college located in Brentwood, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 749 students. Missouri College has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 113 students in 2008.

Allied College North - Maryland Heights, MO

Allied College North, 13723 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights, MO 63043. Allied College North is a small college located in Maryland Heights, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 395 students. Allied College North has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated three and nineteen students respectively in 2008.

Midwest Institute - Kirkwood, MO

Midwest Institute, 10910 Manchester Rd, Kirkwood, MO 63122. Midwest Institute is a small school located in Kirkwood, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 133 students and an admission rate of 96%. Midwest Institute has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Lewis and Clark Community College - Godfrey, IL

Lewis and Clark Community College, 5800 Godfrey Rd, Godfrey, IL 62035. Lewis and Clark Community College is a medium sized college located in Godfrey, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,016 students. Lewis and Clark Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,164 students. Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Sanford-Brown College - Hazelwood, MO

Sanford-Brown College, 75 Village Square, Hazelwood, MO 63042. Sanford-Brown College is a small college located in Hazelwood, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 722 students. Sanford-Brown College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated three students in 2008.

Allied College South - Fenton, MO

Allied College South, 645 Gravois Bluffs Blvd, Fenton, MO 63026. Allied College South is a small college located in Fenton, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 424 students. Allied College South has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated four and thirty-six students respectively in 2008.

Vatterott College - Berkeley, MO

Vatterott College, 8580 Evans Avenue, Berkeley, MO 63134. Vatterott College is a small college located in Berkeley, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 971 students. Vatterott College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eight 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: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.