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Becoming a Dental Assistant in Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina, is known for its hot and humid summers as well as its cool summers. It is also the home to Duke University. Durham is also known for being the founding place and headquarters of the American Tobacco Company. It is currently the fourth most populous city in North Carolina, meaning there should be plenty of job opportunities in the city. One career to consider is that of a dental assistant.

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Dental assistants work under the supervision of dentists to provide care to patients, perform examinations and assist with simple dental procedures. They may also take X-rays, update medical charts and educate the patient on procedures being done and aftercare. Some administrative duties may be required as well. Each state sets its guidelines for becoming a dental assistant, and you can find those for North Carolina here.

Dental Assistant Schools in and Around Durham

While Durham is home to one of the most renowned private research universities, there aren’t many schools in Durham that offer a dental assisting training program. Durham Technical Community College is the main one. They offer an Associate in Science degree program in dental laboratory technology that is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). This program is made up of 74 credit hours that can be taken over 18 to 19 months. Students will receive classroom and lab instruction as well as a clinical rotation. Durham Tech is located less than five miles from Duke University.

You also have a couple of options available in Raleigh, NC, which is about thirty minutes from Durham. They are:

Miller-Motte College in Raleigh
  • Miller-Motte College. Miller-Motte College in Raleigh has an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program. This program can be completed in 18 months and includes a three-part clinical practicum in which students will build a professional portfolio and intern in a dentist’s office. This program is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • Triangle School of Dental Assisting . The Triangle School of Dental Assisting is also located in Raleigh. This program can be taken during the day or in the evening and lasts for 15 weeks. Students will receive Dental Assisting I and Radiology certification upon completion of the program. Financial aid, resume development and job placement assistance are also available.

Job and Salary Outlook in Durham

In 2016, about 8,970 professionals were working as dental assistants in North Carolina. That number is projected to increase to about 11,090 by 2026, which is a 23.6 percent increase. About 2,120 new dental assistant jobs are expected to become available in the state over the next few years.

The average annual salary for dental assistants working in the Durham-Chapel Hill region is $41,440, or $19.62 hourly. Dental assistants who are certified and have more experience can make as much as $56,360 annually.

Working as a Dental Assistant in Durham

The city of Durham has a bright future for those wanting to become dental assistants, as there are educational options nearby and an impressive number of job openings expected to become available in the future. Furthermore, Durham is the second fastest growing city in North Carolina and the 46th most rapidly growing city in the United States, so this means even more opportunity. Also, the city is a great place to live, with jazz festivals, theatrical plays, symphony concerts and art exhibitions happening year-round. Nature lovers will enjoy exploring places like Eno River State Park and the Museum of Life and Science.

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