Lake Area Technical Institute is the only educational or training institution in the state of S. Dakota with an accredited dental care assistant program. Based in Watertown, which is the fifth largest city in S. Dakota, Lake Area Tech was founded in 1965 as the first technical school in the state. As of 2014, Lake Area Tech–also known as LATI–provides almost 30 training programs. Twelve of them are “E-Degree” programs, named because they enable students to take some courses online in addition to coming to campus. Dental care assistant training at LATI is one of these E-Degree programs.
Dental Assistant Schools in South DakotaThe Dental Assisting E-Degree at Lake Area Tech is ideally designed for working professionals who want to complete the program on a part-time basis. The program is split into five semesters, with classes starting in the spring semesters. There are two spring semesters, two summer semesters, and one fall semester; the program ends with the second summer session. The first two semesters are mainly spent on pre-requisite courses in subject areas like oral health, medical terminology, communications, and applied psychology. Core courses include subjects such as pharmacology and medical emergencies, oral anatomy and health, orthodontics, dental radiography, and dental office management. Upon completion of 43.5 credits, students will be awarded a Certificate in Dental Assisting. LATI offers the option of getting an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Assisting, which would require two semesters and 24 credits of additional study. With courses that cover subjects like microbiology, microeconomics, chemistry, and microbiology, students in the A.A.S. degree receive more advanced training.
Salaries for Dental Aid/Assistants in South DakotaAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dental care assistants in S. Dakota had a yearly mean salary of $29,590 ($14.23 per hour) in 2012. In eastern S. Dakota, where the Lake Area Tech campus is located, dental aid or assistants made $20 less. The national mean annual wage for dental aid or assistants is $35,080 ($16.86 per hour). There were 870 dental care assistants in S. Dakota in 2010; 190 of them were based in the eastern region of the state. The BLS expects a 24 percent jump in dental assistant employment for S.Dakota between 2010 and 2020.
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