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Dental Assistant Training

Dental assistants may work directly with patients to get them familiarized with an upcoming procedure. Assistants may also take and process x-rays, review patients' dental records, and make sure these records are kept up-to-date. Some assistants may help dentists prep for procedures by sterilizing and laying out tools and implements, and may provide assistance and keep the patient's mouth clean while the dentist works. Assistants also advise patients of strategies for promoting good oral health care, especially after a dental procedure.

Is a Career in Dental Assisting Right for Me?

Where Does a Dental Assistant Work?

Working conditions are generally pleasant and clean. There may be times of high pressure when patients are scheduled on an emergency basis, or when a procedure takes more time than anticipated. Since patients are often nervous or apprehensive about going to the dentist, an assistant must be calm and pleasant even during stressful times.

What Does a Dental Assistant Do?

A dental assistant helps the dentist in the clinical treatment of patients. The position is very hands-on. A person interested in dental assisting must be a "people person," and enjoy interacting with patients. They must keep patient care a priority, manage their time well, work well with their hands, and accept instruction from the dentist. Basic duties of a dental assistant may include:

  • Seating patients
  • Making patients feel comfortable
  • Answering questions about procedures
  • Preparing materials that will be needed by the dentist
  • Assisting the dentist throughout the procedures
  • Exposing and developing dental X-rays
  • Sterilizing instruments after a procedure and preparing them for the next patient.
  • Updating a patient's chart after a procedure

Sometimes the actual assisting is called four-handed dental assisting. This means that the assistant will be using both of their hands as well in helping the dentist to make the procedure being performed as smooth and quick as possible.

What Do Dental Assistants May Make?

The salary of a dental assistant may vary with location, number of days worked, and number of years of experience. In general the salary range may be between $22,680 and $47,090 per year as per Bureau of Labor Statistics Data of 2010.

Dental assisting is a vital part of the dental health care field. If you are outgoing, efficient, enjoy working with your hands, and can work calmly under pressure, dental assisting might be a good match for you.


List of Schools Offering Dental Assistant Programs



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            Dental Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
            UEI College , Stockton
            • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
            • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
            • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
            • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
            • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
            • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            Dental Assistant
            • Offers accelerated programs w/ flexible schedules & professional instruction
            • Multiple accredited campuses across 9 states including CA, TX, NV, & PA
            • 10 + programs including Practical Nursing, Dental and Medical Assisting
            • Provides professional development training & career planning resources
            • Military Student Center (MSC) is committed to the success of military students
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            Dental Assisting
            • Offers a free trial period so students can attend classes before paying tuition.
            • Provides blended courses that combine traditional classroom instruction with online learning.
            • Lets students connect with peers at any time, and instructors during office hours with online chat rooms.
            • Gives students the chance to participate in externships and clinical training work under the general supervision of college staff.
            • Has accelerated programs that allow students to take the same coursework in a shorter timeframe.
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            • Accredited
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            Registered Dental Assistant
            • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
            • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
            • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
            • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            Medical Assisting
            Platt College , Ontario
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
            • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
            • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
            • 3 campuses in Southern California.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • Accredited
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            Certificate - Medical Assistant
            • Offers a program that translates work and military experience into college credit, transfers in credit from other college programs, and offers the flexibility of day, evening and online coursework.
            • Provides in-person tutoring, IT support, access to library resources, and job placement assistant for graduates.
            • Features a new blended-learning curriculum, which involves a mix of campus and online courses.
            • Has 11 campuses across Southern California, Washington, and Alaska, and online courses with campus support. 
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            • Accredited
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            Medical Assistant
            Mayfield College , Cathedral City
            • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
            • Computer Support Technician program is based on guidelines set by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and Microsoft.
            • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
            • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 locations in Cathedral City and Twentynine Palms, California.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            Master of Public Health
            • Earn your Master of Public Health Online from GW in 12 months.
            • GRE waivers available for qualified applicants.
            • Advance your career in a range of industries, including epidemiology, public health and biostatistics.
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            M.B.A.: Health Systems Management
            • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
            • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
            • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
            • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
            • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
            • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
            • Accredited
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            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
            • Liberty University’s online programs ranked in the top 10 out of more than 2,100 colleges & universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility.*
            • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.**
            • Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
            • Up to 50% of your master’s degree can be transferred in to help you get the most out of your hard work and maximize the credit you previously earned.
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            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
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