How to Become a Dental Assistant in Buffalo, New York
Dental assistants work with dentists and dental hygienists to provide care to patients and perform dental procedures. They will often prepare the patient and the examination room for procedures, take oral X-rays, schedule appointments and update patients’ records. This career is ideal for anyone interested in working in the healthcare field but does not want to go to dental or medical school.
Buffalo is the county seat of Erie County and is the second largest city in the state of New York, with a population of just over 250,000. It is located 16 miles from Niagara Falls and was nicknamed “The City of Light” because it was one of the first cities to utilize electric power. Buffalo was previously known for its manufacturing industry but now is more known for research, higher education and healthcare. Therefore, if you live in the area and are considering a career in dental assisting, this would be a smart choice. To get started, you should check out the state-specific requirements for becoming a dental assistant in New York.
Schools for Dental Assistants in Buffalo
Some states do not require formal training for dental assistants, but completing a program can help prepare you for entry-level work and to take the state and national certification exams. Here are a couple of Buffalo colleges that offer excellent dental assistant training programs:
- The University at Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center (UBEOC). The UBEOC offers the only Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) approved dental assistant training program in the state of New York. This program is also supported by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), and graduates will be able to sit for the DANB exam. This program only takes 24 students per year. In the first semester, students receive two days of classroom instruction and three days of lab instruction. In the second semester, students receive one day of classroom instruction and three days of lab instruction until March. From March to May, students will be in the classroom one day a week and spend the remaining four weekdays doing a clinical externship at a local dentist office. This program lasts 30 weeks. The UBEOC is located approximately 10 minutes from the Buffalo Zoo.
- Erie Community College. Students who attend the dental assisting program at Erie Community College (SUNY Erie) will study coursework in biomedical and dental sciences, clinical and lab procedures and administration, and complete a clinical externship. This program consists of 31.5 credit hours taken over two semesters. Students must start the program in the fall semester and take all courses in sequence. Graduates will receive a Certificate of Completion. Erie Community College is about a 20-minute drive from the Buffalo Museum of Science.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
In 2016, approximately 21,750 dental assistants were working in the state of New York. The state is predicted to see a 23 percent increase in the number of dental assistants working there by the year 2026, with almost 5,000 new jobs added during this time.
The hourly average for dental assistants in the Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls region is $17.86, and their yearly average is $37,160. More experienced certified dental assistants make as much as $47,500 yearly.
Working as a Dental Assistant in Buffalo
Buffalo is known for its many eateries, as well as being the home to several food companies including General Mills. The city is also known for its many private and public art galleries, as well as the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Several festivals are held in Buffalo annually such as the Taste of Buffalo and the Allentown Art Festival. There are also two professional sports teams in Buffalo: The Buffalo Bills (football) and the Buffalo Sabres (hockey).
As a dental assistant, you may find work in places such as Western New York Dental Group or Niagara Dental Implant and Oral Surgery. With many work, play and educational opportunities, the city of Buffalo is a great place to consider working as a dental assistant.
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