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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Raleigh, North Carolina

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for dental assistants in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. About 7,110 people are currently employed as dental assistants in North Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow 36% to about 9,670 people employed. This is better than 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.

The income of a dental assistant is about $16 hourly or $34,370 annually on average in North Carolina. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 per hour or $32,380 annually on average. Incomes for dental assistants are better than in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance in North Carolina, and better than the overall Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. Dental assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: hygiene assistant, expanded duties dental assistant , and dental aide.

There are twenty-nine schools of higher education in the Raleigh area, including four within twenty-five miles of Raleigh where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental assistant. Dental assistants usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so 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 Raleigh 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

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 103 South Bldg Cb 9100, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a large university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 28,567 students and an admission rate of 35%. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant.

Wake Technical Community College - Raleigh, NC

Wake Technical Community College, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603-5696. Wake Technical Community College is a large college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,839 students. Wake Technical Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Central Carolina Community College - Sanford, NC

Central Carolina Community College, 1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, NC 27330-9840. Central Carolina Community College is a small college located in Sanford, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,753 students. Central Carolina Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated nine students in 2008.

Wayne Community College - Goldsboro, NC

Wayne Community College, 3000 Wayne Memorial Dr, Goldsboro, NC 27533-8002. Wayne Community College is a small college located in Goldsboro, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,376 students. Wayne Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fourteen 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: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina photo by Jmturner

Raleigh is located in Wake County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 392,552, which has grown by 42.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Raleigh, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Raleigh are valued at $217,600 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, 1,685 new homes were built in Raleigh, down from 3,224 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Raleigh are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 44.9% of Raleigh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Raleigh is 7.2%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Raleigh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Highland Church, Hillcrest Church and Wake Chapel are all churches located in Raleigh. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Raleigh is home to the North Ridge Country Club and the Pamlico Junction as well as Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest and Rothgeb Park. Visitors to Raleigh can choose from Hampton Inn - Capital Blvd. North, Best Western Raleigh Inn and Diamond Hospitality Inc for temporary stays in the area.