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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for dental assistants. There are currently 18,190 working dental assistants in Texas; this should grow 38% to 25,070 working dental assistants in the state 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. In general, dental assistants assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.

Income for dental assistants is about $14 per hour or $30,990 annually on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $15 hourly or $32,380 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance, people working as dental assistants in Texas earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance nationally. Dental assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: surgical dental assistant, expanded dental assistant, and expanded functions dental assistant .

The San Antonio area is home to forty schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of San Antonio 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 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 San Antonio 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

The Academy of Health Care Professions - San Antonio, TX

The Academy of Health Care Professions, 4738 N. W. Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78229. The Academy of Health Care Professions is a small school located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 260 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 thirty-four students in 2008.

Kaplan Career Institute-San Antonio Campus - San Antonio, TX

Kaplan Career Institute-San Antonio Campus, 7142 San Pedro Suite 100, San Antonio, TX 78216-1899. Kaplan Career Institute-San Antonio Campus is a small school located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 1,000 students. Kaplan Career Institute-San Antonio Campus has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 178 students in 2008.

San Antonio College - San Antonio, TX

San Antonio College, 1300 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212-4299. San Antonio College is a large college located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,713 students. San Antonio College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seven and six students respectively 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: San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas photo by Zereshk

San Antonio is situated in Bexar County, Texas. It has a population of over 1,351,305, which has grown by 18.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Antonio, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in San Antonio are valued at $174,900 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 2,665 new homes were constructed in San Antonio, down from 4,253 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Antonio are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 24 minutes. More than 21.6% of San Antonio residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Antonio is 6.6%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of San Antonio residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.1%, is more than both the national and state average. El Buen Samaritano United Methodist Church, Pentecostal Holiness Church and Pentecostal Home Missionary Church are all churches located in San Antonio. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

San Antonio is home to the Monte Vista Residential Historic District and the Main and Military Plazas Historic District as well as Kennedy Park and Buckeye Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Park Mall, Windsor Park Shopping Center and Wonderland Shopping Center. Visitors to San Antonio can choose from Alpha Hotel, Alamo Executive Suites Inc and Chevy Chase Apartments & Townhomes for temporary stays in the area.