At the South Texas Vocational Technical Institute (STVT), our dental assistant courses provide hands-on training in chairside dental care, office administration, laboratory procedures, and more.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028*, and STVT graduates are positioned to take advantage of this growth due to the strength of our dental assisting curriculum.
STVT’s Dental Assisting Training
Our dental assisting training in McAllen prepares students for office administration, laboratory procedures, and assisting dentists with direct patient care. Our dental assisting program also emphasizes patient and workplace safety. Some courses offered to our Dental Assisting students include:
- Dental Appointments and Scheduling
- Dental History, Law and Ethics, Dental Team and Specialties
- Dental Inventory Control
- Dental Patient Records
- Embryology, Histology, and Pharmacology
- Preventative Dentistry and Infection Control
- Tooth Morphology and Microbiology
- Career Planning
Additional skills covered at our dental assisting school include dental office business procedures, dental laboratory techniques, dental radiology, CPR, four-handed and six-handed chairside assisting, word processing, and other computer skills.
What Do Dental Assistants Do?
Dental assistants are the fuel keeping dental offices running. However, it’s important to note that dental assistants are not dental hygienists, as dental hygienists perform different tasks than dental assistants and must obtain different licensing*.
*STVT does not guarantee third-party certifications. Certification requirements for taking and passing certification examinations are not controlled by STVT but by outside agencies and are subject to change by the agencies without notice to STVT. Therefore, STVT cannot guarantee that graduates will be eligible to take certification examinations, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.
Dental assistant duties include administrative and “behind-the-scenes” tasks, including:
- Appointment Coordination
- Patient Assistance
- Treatment Records Management
- Payment Processing
- Ordering Dental Supplies/Materials
- Patient Phone Calls
- Preparing Documents For Mailing
Dental assistants may work with patients directly, performing tasks like:
- Preparing instruments for a dentist’s use
- Keep patient’s mouth clear of obstruction
- Sterilize and disinfect instruments
- Clean and prepare equipment
- Organize instruments for later use
- Provide oral health information and explain home procedures to patients
Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience for patients, and it’s often the dental assistant’s job to ensure they’re comfortable and informed about their procedure. Every dental office’s approach to chairside manner is different, but most emphasize the patient’s safety and comfort.
Should I be a Dental Assistant?
If you like working with people, dental assisting could be a rewarding career for you. As they often work directly with patients, dental assistants should possess some of the following traits:
- Compassion – Dental assistants often work with people who are worried
- Strong Work Ethic – Dental assistants often perform complex work
- Organization – In a busy office, remaining organized and prepared is important
- Multitasking – Dentists could ask their assistants to help with a variety of tasks
How Much Do Dental Assistants Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dental assistants was $38,660 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $54,800.*
Specific salary rates may vary by place of employment. STVT cannot guarantee employment or salary.
Career Outlook for Dental Assistants
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all other occupations. Dental technology is continuing to advance, and as dental practices grow, additional dental assistants could be needed.*
Do You Have Other Questions?
We know that a decision to attend STVT is an important step in your personal and professional life and we are committed to making sure that you have the information to make a career training decision that’s right for you.
Tour Your Future at STVT Today!
Find out why STVT could be the next step in your career. A member of our admissions team will be happy to discuss your questions. During your visit to our McAllen campus, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet with Financial Aid, Career Services, and campus instructors so you can have all the information to make a decision from the start.