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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Norman, Oklahoma

If you want to be a dental assistant, the Norman, Oklahoma area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 3,160 people work as dental assistants in Oklahoma. This is expected to grow by 17% to 3,680 people 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. In general, dental assistants assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

The income of a dental assistant is about $13 hourly or $28,810 annually on average in Oklahoma. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 per hour or $32,380 yearly on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance, people working as dental assistants in Oklahoma 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, hygiene assistant, and expanded duty dental assistant.

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

Metro Technology Centers - Oklahoma City, OK

Metro Technology Centers, 1900 Springlake Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73111-5240. Metro Technology Centers is a small school located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 987 students. Metro Technology Centers has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eight students in 2008.

Platt College-OKC Central Campus - Oklahoma City, OK

Platt College-OKC Central Campus, 309 S Ann Arbor, Oklahoma City, OK 73128-1112. Platt College-OKC Central Campus is a small college located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 215 students. Platt College-OKC Central Campus has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty students in 2008.

Moore Norman Technology Center - Norman, OK

Moore Norman Technology Center, 4701 12th Avenue NW, Norman, OK 73069-8399. Moore Norman Technology Center is a small school located in Norman, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 857 students and an admission rate of 61%. Moore Norman Technology Center has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated nine students in 2008.

Rose State College - Midwest City, OK

Rose State College, 6420 S E 15th, Midwest City, OK 73110-2799. Rose State College is a medium sized college located in Midwest City, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,427 students. Rose State College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated one and nine students respectively in 2008.

Oklahoma Health Academy - Moore, OK

Oklahoma Health Academy, 1939 N. Moore Avenue, Moore, OK 73160. Oklahoma Health Academy is a small school located in Moore, Oklahoma. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 120 students. Oklahoma Health Academy has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twenty-nine 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: Norman, Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma photo by Okguy

Norman is located in Cleveland County, Oklahoma. It has a population of over 106,957, which has grown by 11.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Norman, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Norman are priced at $184,600 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, five hundred sixteen new homes were built in Norman, up from four hundred nineteen the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Norman are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 39.8% of Norman residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Norman is 4.7%, which is less than Oklahoma's average of 7.1%.

The percentage of Norman residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Alameda Baptist Church, Alameda Church of Christ and All Welcome Victory Church are among the churches located in Norman. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Norman is home to the Cerebral Palsy Institute and the Park on Main as well as Owen Field and Rotary Park. Shopping malls in the area include Colonial Estates Shopping Center, Anatole Shopping Center and Carriage Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Norman can choose from Ramada Days Inn, Montford Inn and Guest Inn - Norman for temporary stays in the area.