Students majoring in such areas as business, economics, political science, geography, or sociology may choose to supplement their degree with a Certificate in Urban Studies. The program introduces students to selected aspects of the nature and problems of cities, urban life, and urban development. Students designed a futuristic dental chair to help increase patient and operator comfort. A DVD visor and aromatherapy was also included and the chair was suspended by laser beams. Students who excel in the dental assistant program now will have an opportunity to advance to the EFDA program.
Students wishing to pursue a career in dental assisting should take challenging high school courses in science, math and English. Dental assistants receive their education and training through academic programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes or universities. Students receive training in dental anatomy, pathology and terminology, dental instruments and materials, x-rays and radiography, chair side assisting techniques, as well as dental laboratory and office administration procedures. The core curriculum is structured to include a lecture component, a laboratory component, and a clinical component.
Training programs include classroom, laboratory, and pre-clinical instruction in dental-assisting skills and related theory. Most programs take one year or less to complete and lead to a certificate or a diploma. Training programs are offered by community colleges, vocational schools, or technical institutes. One-year program enrollees receive a certificate or diploma upon completion, while those in 2-year programs receive an associate degree.
Programs may offer internships,which are part-time unpaid jobs in a dentist office, schools, or clinics, where students can gain practical experience. Getting real-world experience while attending school can be a valuable learning experience and it looks good on a resume, too. Programs include classroom, laboratory and pre-clinical instruction in dental-assisting skills and related theory. In addition, students gain practical experience in dental schools, clinics or dental offices.
Students are also prepared to take the Dental Assisting National Board examination to receive a national credential. Students obtain hand-on clinical experience in the Colleges state-of-the-art dental hygiene clinic. Students are responsible for their own living accommodations, including uniform laundry and transportation to extended campuses. In the first semester of the program, immunization for Hepatitis-B and other infectious diseases is required.
Health and retirement benefits vary by office. Health Resources and Services Administration reported that Minnesota had 4,620 practicing dental assistants in 2000, or 94 dental assistants per 100,000 people, exceeding the national number of 89. This federal data appears to include licensed dental assistants practicing in states other than the state in which licensed.
Job prospects for dental assistants are excellent. Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Job growth in this field will increase by 43 percent in the next 10 years. Computer systems software engineers work within a company to configure, implement and install complete computer systems.
Job opportunities also exist in dental schools, hospitals, public health departments, prisons, military installations, and dental supply companies. The increasing clinical emphasis of Dental Assistant's responsibilities and the increasing need to control health-care costs make the employment outlook for well-trained Dental Assistants very good.
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