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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Houston, Texas

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for dental assistants in the Houston, Texas area. There are currently 18,190 jobs for dental assistants in Texas and this is projected to grow 38% to 25,070 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for dental assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 35.8% over the next eight years. Dental assistants generally assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

A person working as a dental assistant can expect to earn about $14 per hour or $30,990 per year on average in Texas and about $15 hourly or $32,380 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Dental assistants earn more than people working in the category of Medical and Dental Assistance generally in Texas and more than people in the Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. People working as dental assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: registered dental assistant , dental office manager, and surgical dental assistant.

The Houston area is home to eighty-one schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree as a dental assistant. The most common level of education for dental assistants is a post-secondary certificate. 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 Houston 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

Everest Institute-Greenspoint - Houston, TX

Everest Institute-Greenspoint, 255 Northpoint Ste 100, Houston, TX 77060. Everest Institute-Greenspoint is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 226 students and an admission rate of 55%. Everest Institute-Greenspoint has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 513 students in 2008.

The Academy of Health Care Professions - Houston, TX

The Academy of Health Care Professions, 240 Northwest Mall, Houston, TX 77092. The Academy of Health Care Professions is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 405 students and an admission rate of 100%. The Academy of Health Care Professions has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated forty-two students in 2008.

Astrodome Career Centers - Houston, TX

Astrodome Career Centers, 2646 S Loop W Ste 415, Houston, TX 77054. Astrodome Career Centers is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 10 students. Astrodome Career Centers has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated sixty-seven students in 2008.

Texas School of Business-Southwest Inc - Houston, TX

Texas School of Business-Southwest Inc, 6363 Richmond Ste 300, Houston, TX 77057. Texas School of Business-Southwest Inc is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 538 students. Texas School of Business-Southwest Inc has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated ninety-six students in 2008.

The Academy of Health Care Professions - Houston, TX

The Academy of Health Care Professions, 8313 Southwest Freeway-Ste 300, Houston, TX 77074. The Academy of Health Care Professions is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 124 students and an admission rate of 100%. The Academy of Health Care Professions has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Texas School of Business Inc - Houston, TX

Texas School of Business Inc, 711 Airtex Dr, Houston, TX 77073. Texas School of Business Inc is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 672 students. Texas School of Business Inc has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seventy-five students in 2008.

Houston Community College System - Houston, TX

Houston Community College System, 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77266-7517. Houston Community College System is a large college located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 48,087 students. Houston Community College System has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twelve 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: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.