As of 2014, Houston–the largest city in the state of Texas–has one dental assisting training program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). It is offered by the HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences, one of the six institutions that comprise the Houston Community College System. Founded in 2004, HCC Coleman provides associate degrees and certificates in more than 20 health science fields.
Dental Assistant Schools in Houston
The program at HCC Coleman consists of 36 credits, which are designed for completion in 12 months, spread out over three semesters (Summer, Fall, and Spring). Courses include Preventative Dentistry, Chairside Assisting, Dental Radiology, and Dental Science. Two externship units are included for giving students hands-on experience at onsite labs or local dental clinics. Students cannot take clinicals until they go through a drug screening, background check, and make sure their vaccinations (including the one for Hepatitis B) are current. Upon graduation, students will receive Certificates of Completion, making them eligible to sit for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam. Also available is the Radiology Certificate Credential, or RDA, from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners. Although optional, the RDA is necessary for dental assistants who administer x-rays, monitor the administration of nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation conscious sedation, apply pit and fissure sealants, and perform coronal polishing.
Salaries for Dental aid/Assistant Education in Houston
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dental care assistants in the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown metropolitan area had an annual median wage of $33,320, or $16.04 per hour. This number surpasses the annual median wage of dental care assistants in the state, at $32,900 ($15.81 per hour); the national median was $34,500 ($16.59 per hour) in 2012. At 6,020, the Houston metro area had the fourth-highest employment level of dental aid or assistants in the nation, and comprised about 20 percent of the dental care assistants in the state. The BLS expects a 27 percent increase in employment in Texas between 2010 and 2020.
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