If you are looking for a better future, consider a career as a dental assistant! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental assistants is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028*, and graduating dental assistants are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this growth.
At the South Texas Vocational Technical Institute (STVT), our program provides hands-on training that teaches students about phases of the dental assistant position, including chairside dental care, office administration, laboratory procedures, and more.
With our small class sizes, flexible schedules, and quality teaching staff, there’s never been a better time than now to take the next step in your dental assistant education by applying to STVT.
Training to Become a Dental Assistant
The Dental Assisting Diploma program prepares students for a dental assisting career in dental office administration, laboratory procedures, and assisting the dentist with direct patient care. Skills include dental office business procedures, dental laboratory techniques, dental radiology, CPR, four-handed and six-handed chairside assisting, word processing, and other computer skills.
Our dental assisting program emphasizes hands-on learning and patient and workplace safety. Our curriculum focuses on preparing students for common tasks and situations in the dental workplace, and our externship programs provides valuable real-world experiences. Programs may differ between campuses, but 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
The Dental Assisting graduate may find entry-level employment with a dental office or clinic as a receptionist, insurance clerk, and/or chairside assistant, with the opportunity for advancement with continued dental assistant training.
What Does a Dental Assistant Do?
Dental assistants perform a variety of tasks, and they often work both behind-the-scenes and directly with patients. It’s important to note that dental assistants are not dental hygienists, as dental hygienists perform different tasks than dental assistants and must obtain a different license.
Dental assistants may work varied schedules to support the needs of the practice they work in, and conditions and work locations may vary somewhat between employers.
Dental assistant duties include administrative and “behind-the-scenes” tasks. Some tasks common in dental offices could include:
- Appointment Coordination
- Patient Assistance
- Treatment Records Management
- Payment Processing
- Ordering Dental Supplies/Materials
- Patient Phone Calls
- Preparing Documents For Mailing
In the course of their work, dental assistants work both around the office and with patients directly. In the course of these duties, dental assistants can perform a variety of tasks, such as:
- 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 some patients. Dental assistants may sometimes need to assist in keeping patients comfortable and informed as to what is occurring. This could mean anything from explaining a procedure in terms patients can understand to answering questions, or even following up with a phone call after a procedure. Every dental office’s approach to chairside manner is different, but almost all emphasize the patient’s safety and comfort.
Dental Assisting Professional Requirements
There are a few required exams and courses necessary to practice as a Registered Dental Assistant in the state of Texas. Effective September 1, 2006, to apply to become a registered dental assistant, a student must complete a mandatory short course approved by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners. By law, a dental assistant must be registered with TSBDE to take x-rays at a dentist office. Additional information about these dental assistant qualifications can be found on their website.*
*STVT does not guarantee third-party licensing/registration. Licensing/registration requirements for taking and passing 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 examinations, regardless of their eligibility status upon enrollment.
Is Dental Assisting a Good Career For Me?
If you like working with people and changing people’s lives, dental assisting could be the career for you. There are a several dental assistant skills and traits that could be useful as you continue on your journey.
- Compassion – Dental assistants often work with people who are worried or scared
- Strong Work Ethic – Dental assistants may sometimes work long hours and do complex work
- Organization – When it comes to people’s smiles, staying organized and prepared is important
- Multitasking – Dentists could ask their assistants to perform a variety of tasks, and it’s important to stay organized and on task
How Much Money Do Dental Assistants Make?
Just like in any profession, wages can vary. However, 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.*
Dental Assistant Career Outlook
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 occupations. Dental technology is continuing to advance, and as dental practices grow, additional dental assistants could be needed.*
Where Can Dental Assistants Work?
Due to the specialized nature of the dental field, most Dental Assistants work in private dental offices. This means flexibility, as dentists are located all around the country. While certification requirements vary by state, dental assistants could find potential work opportunities almost anywhere they’d like to live.
Do You Have Other Questions?
Looking for dental assistant courses in Texas? Contact us today and we can answer any questions you have about our programs. 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.
STVT’s South Texas Dental Assisting Program Locations
We offer our Dental Assisting program at most of our campuses across South Texas. Each of our campuses are conveniently located and offer a unique learning experience.
Programs vary by location.
High school diploma, GED, or equivalent required.
Get Started Today!
Find out why STVT could be the next step in your career. A member of our admissions team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have, and how our career training can help you qualify for the career you want.