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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in West Valley City, Utah

There are many career and education opportunities for dental assistants in the West Valley City, Utah area. There are currently 3,950 jobs for dental assistants in Utah and this is projected to grow 53% to about 6,030 jobs by 2016. 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.

Dental assistants earn approximately $12 per hour or $26,610 per year on average in Utah. Nationally they average about $15 hourly or $32,380 yearly. Incomes for dental assistants are better than in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Utah, and better than the overall Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. Dental assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: expanded duty dental assistant, surgical dental assistant, and oral surgery assistant.

There are thirty-three schools of higher education in the West Valley City area, including four within twenty-five miles of West Valley City where you can get a degree to start your career 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 West Valley City 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

Eagle Gate College - Murray, UT

Eagle Gate College, 5588 South Green Street, Murray, UT 84123-6965. Eagle Gate College is a small college located in Murray, Utah. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 349 students. Eagle Gate College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twenty-two and five students respectively in 2008.

Vista College - Salt Lake City, UT

Vista College, 1385 West 2200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84119. Vista College is a small college located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 54 students and an admission rate of 100%. Vista College has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

Davis Applied Technology College - Kaysville, UT

Davis Applied Technology College, 550 E 300 S, Kaysville, UT 84037-2699. Davis Applied Technology College is a small college located in Kaysville, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,750 students. Davis Applied Technology College has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated seventeen students in 2008.

Vista College - Clearfield, UT

Vista College, 775 South 2000 East, Clearfield, UT 84015. Vista College is a small college located in Clearfield, Utah. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 55 students and an admission rate of 100%. Vista College has a less than one year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated twenty 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: West Valley City, Utah

West Valley City, Utah
West Valley City, Utah photo by Joe Tordiff

West Valley City is situated in Salt Lake County, Utah. It has a population of over 123,447, which has grown by 13.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in West Valley City, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in West Valley City are valued at $108,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-eight new homes were constructed in West Valley City, down from two hundred thirty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in West Valley City are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 11.4% of West Valley City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 2.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in West Valley City is 8.3%, which is greater than Utah's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of West Valley City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 67.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Atonement Lutheran Church and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church are some of the churches located in West Valley City. The most common religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

West Valley City is home to the Valley Indoor Market Place and the Mini Warehouse Condominium. Shopping malls in the area include Redwood Shopping Center, Valley Fair Mall and Granger Shopping Center.