Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Assistants in Alexandria, Virginia
Dental assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Alexandria, Virginia. The national trend for dental assistants 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.
Dental assistants earn about $15 per hour or $32,880 annually on average in Virginia and about $15 hourly or $32,380 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance, people working as dental assistants in Virginia 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: dental aide, registered dental assistant , and hygiene assistant.
The Alexandria area is home to eighty-four schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree 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 studying to be a dental assistant if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dental Assistant
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 Alexandria 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
Medix South - Landover, MD
Medix South, 4351 Garden City Drive, Landover, MD 20785. Medix South is a small school located in Landover, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 243 students. Medix South has a one to two year program in Dental Assisting/Assistant.
ACT College - Arlington, VA
ACT College, 1100 Wilson Blvd, Suite M780, Arlington, VA 22209-2297. ACT College is a small college located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 331 students. ACT College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Dental Assisting/Assistant which graduated 100 and two 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.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.
The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.
Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.
Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.