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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dental assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. There are currently 1,780 jobs for dental assistants in New Mexico and this is projected to grow by 23% to about 2,190 jobs 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.

Dental assistants earn approximately $14 hourly or $30,080 yearly on average in New Mexico. Nationally they average about $15 hourly or $32,380 yearly. Dental assistants earn more than people working in the category of Medical and Dental Assistance generally in New Mexico and more than people in the Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. Jobs in this field include: dental office manager, certified registered dental assistant, and dentist attendant.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Albuquerque area, including three within twenty-five miles of Albuquerque where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental assistant. The most common level of education for dental assistants is a post-secondary certificate. You can expect to spend a short time studying 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 Albuquerque 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

Kaplan Career Institute - Albuquerque, NM

Kaplan Career Institute, 5981 Jefferson NE Suite A & B, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Kaplan Career Institute is a small school located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 4 students. Kaplan Career Institute has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fifty-one students in 2008.

Central New Mexico Community College - Albuquerque, NM

Central New Mexico Community College, 525 Buena Vista SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106. Central New Mexico Community College is a large college located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,690 students. Central New Mexico Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Pima Medical Institute - Albuquerque, NM

Pima Medical Institute, 2201 San Pedro NE Bldg 3 Ste 100, Albuquerque, NM 87110. Pima Medical Institute is a small school located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 737 students. Pima Medical Institute has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seventy-four 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.

LICENSES

Dental Assistants

Licensing agency: NM Board of Dental Health Care & NM Dental Hygienists Committee
Address: PO Box 25101, Santa Fe, NM 87504-5101

Phone: (505) 476-4680
Website: NM Board of Dental Health Care & NM Dental Hygienists Committee

LOCATION INFORMATION: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico photo by Debernardi

Albuquerque is situated in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. It has a population of over 521,999, which has grown by 16.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Albuquerque, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Albuquerque cost $176,100 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, 1,067 new homes were built in Albuquerque, down from 2,096 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Albuquerque are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 31.8% of Albuquerque residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Albuquerque is 6.9%, which is less than New Mexico's average of 7.5%.

The percentage of Albuquerque residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.7%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church, Hope Church and Baptist Student Union are some of the churches located in Albuquerque. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Albuquerque is home to the Menaul School Historic District and the Volcano Ranch as well as Cutler Park and Eunice Kaloch Park. Shopping centers in the area include Del Norte Parkade Shopping Center, Westway Shopping Center and Winrock Shopping Center. Visitors to Albuquerque can choose from Winrock Inn-Best Western, New Mexico State Government - Health Department- Behavioral Health Services Divi and Motel 6 for temporary stays in the area.