This program teaches students the principles of preventive oral care.
They will learn how to teach self care to patients and how to examine a patient's head and neck area for abnormal health status. Other areas will include nutritional counseling, application of sealants on grooves of patients' teeth, producing diagnostically acceptable intraoral radiographs (x-rays) and scaling procedures to remove deposits from patients' teeth.
Graduates in this field may be required to:
provide patient education: design preventive strategies; set goals to motivate patients
perform patient care: scaling, polishing, processing x-rays
refer patient to dentist for further examination
assist dentist in treatment of patient:
prepare solutions and mixtures
sterilize and set up equipment
Graduates in this field commonly experience:
work in dentists' offices (usually pleasant surroundings)
work in cooperation with others
work under little direct supervision
overtime sometimes required
work on a schedule
mildly active (some standing and moving around)
light lifting (up to 20 lbs)
Graduates in this field should have:
ability to work in very close proximity with a variety of people
good social skills
ability to be a "team player"
patience, sensitivity, pleasantness
excellent oral communication skills
good written communication skills
ability to adapt and "catch on" quickly
ability to reason and make judgments
ability to understand machines - how they work
good motor coordination (hand/eye coordination, accurate and swift movement, finger/manual dexterity)
Graduates in this field can expect the following developments:
salary average: $34,500 per year according to the US Department of Labor. You may view the most current Occupational Outlook statistics at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm.
full- or part-time available
bachelor's degree allows advancement into teaching
employment in cities and towns of all sizes