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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in McAllen, Texas

Dental assistant career and educational opportunities abound in McAllen, Texas. About 18,190 people are currently employed as dental assistants in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 38% to 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%. In general, dental assistants assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

A person working as a dental assistant can expect to earn about $14 hourly or $30,990 annually on average in Texas and about $15 per hour or $32,380 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. 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. People working as dental assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: hygiene assistant, dental aide, and certified dental assistant .

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of McAllen where you can study to be a dental assistant, among nine schools of higher education total in the McAllen area. Dental assistants usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so 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 McAllen 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

South Texas Vo-Tech Institute - Weslaco, TX

South Texas Vo-Tech Institute, 2419 E Haggar Ave, Weslaco, TX 78596. South Texas Vo-Tech Institute is a small school located in Weslaco, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 266 students. South Texas Vo-Tech Institute has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant.

South Texas Vocational Technical Institute-McAllen - McAllen, TX

South Texas Vocational Technical Institute-McAllen, 2400 Daffodil Ave., McAllen, TX 78501. South Texas Vocational Technical Institute-McAllen is a small school located in McAllen, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 222 students. South Texas Vocational Technical Institute-McAllen has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant.

San Antonio College of Medical and Dental Assistants-McAllen - McAllen, TX

San Antonio College of Medical and Dental Assistants-McAllen, 1500 S. Jackson, McAllen, TX 78503-1625. San Antonio College of Medical and Dental Assistants-McAllen is a small college located in McAllen, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,073 students. San Antonio College of Medical and Dental Assistants-McAllen has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated eighty-two 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: McAllen, Texas

McAllen, Texas
McAllen, Texas photo by L1CENSET0K1LL

Mcallen is located in Hidalgo County, Texas. It has a population of over 129,776, which has grown by 22.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Mcallen, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Mcallen cost $174,400 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, five hundred seventy-three new homes were constructed in Mcallen, down from seven hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Mcallen are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.6% of Mcallen residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Mcallen is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Mcallen residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Emmanuel Baptist Church, Family of Faith Fellowship Church and First Missionary Baptist Church are some of the churches located in Mcallen. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Mcallen is home to the Sam and Marjorie Miller House and the McAllen Memorial Library as well as Schupp Park and Archer Park. Shopping centers in the area include Las Tiendas Plaza Shopping Center and La Plaza Shopping Center.