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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Portland, Oregon

Dental assistants can find many career and educational opportunities in the Portland, Oregon area. Currently, 4,370 people work as dental assistants in Oregon. This is expected to grow by 30% to 5,690 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.

Dental assistants earn approximately $17 per hour or $36,730 per year on average in Oregon. Nationally they average about $15 hourly or $32,380 per year. Earnings for dental assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Oregon and better than general Medical and Dental Assistance category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: certified registered dental assistant, orthodontic assistant, and surgical dental assistant.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can study to be a dental assistant, among fifty-nine schools of higher education total in the Portland area. Given that the most common education level for dental assistants is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time training to become 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 Portland 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

Anthem College-Portland - Beaverton, OR

Anthem College-Portland, 4145 SW Watson Ave-Ste 300, Beaverton, OR 97005. Anthem College-Portland is a small college located in Beaverton, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 358 students. Anthem College-Portland has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seventy-three students in 2008.

Chemeketa Community College - Salem, OR

Chemeketa Community College, 4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305. Chemeketa Community College is a large college located in Salem, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,000 students. Chemeketa Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

Portland Community College - Portland, OR

Portland Community College, 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219-7132. Portland Community College is a large college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,657 students. Portland Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty-seven students in 2008.

Apollo College-Portland Inc - Portland, OR

Apollo College-Portland Inc, 2004 Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Portland, OR 97232-1309. Apollo College-Portland Inc is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 1,209 students and an admission rate of 98%. Apollo College-Portland Inc has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 158 students in 2008.

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Concorde Career Institute - Portland, OR

Concorde Career Institute, 1425 NE Irving Street, Bldg 300, Portland, OR 97232. Concorde Career Institute is a small school located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 550 students and an admission rate of 100%. Concorde Career Institute has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 157 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 Assistant Certification

Licensing agency: Oregon Board of Dentistry
Address: 1600 SW 4th Ave, Suite 770, Portland, OR 97201

Phone: (503) 229-5520
Website: Oregon Board of Dentistry

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon photo by Fcb981

Portland is located in Multnomah County, Oregon. It has a population of over 557,706, which has grown by 5.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $194,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Portland, down from 1,205 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 32.6% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 10.7%, which is greater than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Portland is home to the Barnes Yard and the Haig as well as Cottonwood Bay City Park and Wallace City Park. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Shilo Inns & Resorts and Comfort Inn Portland for temporary stays in the area.