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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for dental assistants in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. There are currently 11,400 working dental assistants in Pennsylvania; this should grow by 29% to 14,700 working dental assistants in the state 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 $14 hourly or $29,570 yearly on average in Pennsylvania. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 hourly or $32,380 yearly on average. Incomes for dental assistants are better than in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Pennsylvania, and better than the overall Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. Jobs in this field include: oral and maxiofacial surgical assistant, expanded dental assistant, and orthodontic assistant.

The Pittsburgh area is home to eighty-three schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can get a degree 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 Pittsburgh 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

Bradford School - Pittsburgh, PA

Bradford School, 125 West Station Square Drive, Suite 129, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Bradford School is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 583 students and an admission rate of 95%. Bradford School has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated zero and thirty students respectively in 2008.

Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus - Pittsburgh, PA

Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus, 777 Penn Center Boulevard, Building 7, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus is a small school located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 534 students and an admission rate of 75%. Sanford-Brown Institute Monroeville Campus has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated thirty-five students in 2008.

Westmoreland County Community College - Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County Community College, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697-1895. Westmoreland County Community College is a medium sized college located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,512 students. Westmoreland County Community College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated ten students in 2008.

Ohio Valley College of Technology - East Liverpool, OH

Ohio Valley College of Technology, 16808 Saint Clair Ave, East Liverpool, OH 43920-9453. Ohio Valley College of Technology is a small college located in East Liverpool, Ohio. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 155 students and an admission rate of 80%. Ohio Valley College of Technology has an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

Career Training Academy - New Kensington, PA

Career Training Academy, 950 5th Ave, New Kensington, PA 15068-6308. Career Training Academy is a small school located in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 60 students. Career Training Academy 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.

LICENSES

Expanded Function Dental Assistant

Licensing agency: Department of State
Address: Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Dentistry Board, 166 Pine Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 783-7162
Website: Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Dentistry Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.