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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in El Paso, Texas

For those living in the El Paso, Texas area, there are many career and education opportunities for dental assistants. About 18,190 people are currently employed as dental assistants in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 38% to about 25,070 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 $14 per hour or $30,990 yearly on average in Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 per hour or $32,380 per year on average. Earnings for dental assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Texas and better than general Medical and Dental Assistance category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: expanded duty dental assistant, surgical dental assistant, and expanded duties dental assistant .

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the El Paso area, including three within twenty-five miles of El Paso where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental assistant. 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.


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 El Paso 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.


Career Centers of Texas-El Paso - El Paso, TX

Career Centers of Texas-El Paso, 8360 Burnham Rd Ste 100, El Paso, TX 79907. Career Centers of Texas-El Paso is a small school located in El Paso, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 641 students. Career Centers of Texas-El Paso has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fifty-two students in 2008.

New Mexico State University-Dona Ana - Las Cruces, NM

New Mexico State University-Dona Ana, 3400 S Espina, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001. New Mexico State University-Dona Ana is a medium sized university located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,336 students. New Mexico State University-Dona Ana has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

El Paso Community College - El Paso, TX

El Paso Community College, 919 Hunter Drive, El Paso, TX 79915-1908. El Paso Community College is a large college located in El Paso, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,833 students. El Paso Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated four and five students respectively in 2008.


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.


El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas photo by Camerafiend

El Paso is situated in El Paso County, Texas. It has a population of over 613,190, which has grown by 8.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in El Paso, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in El Paso are priced at $150,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, 2,521 new homes were built in El Paso, down from 2,666 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in El Paso are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 18.3% of El Paso residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in El Paso is 8.7%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of El Paso residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 63.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Pentecostal Holiness Church, El Divino Redentor United Methodist Church and El Paso Catholic Church are some of the churches located in El Paso. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

El Paso is home to the Wyler Aerial Tramway and the Old Fort Bliss as well as Travis White Park and Feather Lake Wildlife Refuge. Shopping centers in the area include Las Palmas Shopping Center, NorthPark Shopping Center and Cielo Vista Shopping Center. Visitors to El Paso can choose from Holiday Inn El Paso, Best Western Airport Inn and Allstate Motel for temporary stays in the area.