Launch Your Career As A Dental Assistant Today! Call Us Now 360-818-7273

Do You Have a Dental Dream?

Are you feeling stuck and unfulfilled in your current job? You’re not alone. Statistics show that, on average, people change careers six times during their life— often because they feel unfulfilled or unsatisfied in their current job. But it doesn’t have to be that way! A career in dental assisting provides the work life many people seek, and the deep satisfaction knowing they’re having a positive impact on the lives of others. 

You can take dental assisting classes during evenings or weekends so that you can maintain your current job. And once you graduate dental assistant school, you have a path towards a well-paying job in a stable field.

How to Have a More Fulfilling Career?

Once you decide to make a change and pursue a career in dentistry, the next step is to research education and certification requirements. This step can quickly become overwhelming, which is why it’s so important to have a guide.

Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School is the premier dental assisting school in Vancouver, and we want to provide the resources and information you need to make a well-informed decision about your career in dental assisting.

Dental Assisting Basics: What are the Most Important Things I Should Know About Being a Dental Assistant?

What are Dental Assistants and their Daily Responsibilities?

Once you decide to make a change and pursue a career in dentistry, the next step is to research education and certification requirements. This step can quickly become overwhelming, which is why it’s so important to have a guide. 

Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School is the premier dental assisting school in Vancouver, and we want to provide the resources and information you need to make a well-informed decision about your career in dental assisting. 

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental assistants are qualified professionals who contribute significantly to the dental team. Dental assistants perform a variety of tasks, from patient care to office and laboratory duties. ​Some of the primary responsibilities of dental assistants are: 

  • Assisting the dentist during a variety of treatment procedures.
  • Taking and developing dental radiographs (x-rays).
  • Asking about the patient’s medical history and taking blood pressure and pulse.
  • Serving as an infection control officer.
  • Developing infection control protocol and preparing and sterilizing instruments and equipment.
  • Helping patients feel comfortable before, during, and after dental treatment.
  • Providing patients with instructions for oral care following surgery or other dental treatment procedures such as the placement of a restoration (filling) and more. 

Why Should I Become a Dental Assistant? 

We are not going to sugarcoat the fact that being a dental assistant is a challenging job. But we are sure you’ve heard this saying a million times: nothing worthwhile is going to be easy. Dental assisting is rewarding and offers flexibility, which is why it’s a popular career choice. We have many single parents who become dental assistants while attending evening or weekend classes so they can maintain their current income. The flexibility in both school and work schedules, combined with great pay, is why so many people choose a career in dentistry.

How Much do Dental Assistants Make?

According to the U.S. News, dental assistants rank #25 in Best Health Care Support Jobs. “The median salary for dental assisting is $37,630 in 2017. The best-paid 25 percent made $46,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $31,160. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19.5 percent employment growth for dental assistants between 2016 and 2026. In that period, an estimated 64,600 jobs should open up.”

There are excellent income potential and growth potential — security many people seek in their chosen career. With additional education or training, you could even become a dental hygienist, dental office manager, insurance coordinator, or another critical role in the dental office.


I will forever be happy with my decision to go to Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School. In only 12 weeks I gained the skills to start my career which I am so excited about. Most of the students in my class got very good jobs even before they graduated. All of the instructors are so knowledgeable and really care for all their students. Class is only two times a week which was super convenient for people who had jobs or families. Dr. Bharathi is such a caring and sweet person who really wants each one of her students to learn be successful. PNWDAS focuses on hands on learning and most students get to practice with real patients as soon as the second week!

I would tell anyone thinking about joining this program to absolutely do it.

– Emily Moore

How Do You Become a Dental Assistant? Online School Versus In-Person School with Hands-On Training?

If you’d like to pursue flexible school and work schedules, great pay, and great opportunities, your next step is to find a dental assisting school. A

good dental assisting school will give you the personal, hands-on learning needed to succeed in the field. However, with busy schedules, an online learning platform can seem appealing.

With the advancement of technology and the advantages of doing things virtually, online classes are becoming increasingly popular. At the end of the day, we want individuals who are interested in becoming dental assistants to evaluate all their options before investing in school. This information is meant to walk you through the pros and cons of online and in-person schools so you can make an informed decision.

Online Dental Assisting Schools

The Pros

  • Online dental assistant training is convenient. You can virtually do it anytime and anywhere. If you know that you will have an unpredictable schedule and you can’t consistently show up for in-person classes, online classes are a good option.
  • Online classes tend to be cheaper than in-person and hands-on training. This is because there are no live instructors, no space, no tools, and no lab materials needed — everything is digital.

The Cons

  • There is great value in being able to hear and learn directly from an instructor in-person.
  • You have the opportunity to engage and ask questions when you are confused or need more clarification. You retain information better when there are interactions.
  • You know yourself the best. If you lack strong self-discipline, then it’s best to choose in-person classes since it provides more structure and someone to help you when you are less engaged or motivated.
  • Relationships and connections matter! Single-person online classrooms don’t offer opportunities to build relationships that could bring you more job options in the future.

In-Person Dental Assisting Schools

The Pros

  • Interactions matter, especially when it comes to learning and gaining a skill! Having classmates encourage you to be more concentrated and engaged in class. Instructors are right there with you to answer any potential questions you have.
  • The most effective way to learn things is by doing it! You just can’t put a price on the importance and effectiveness of hands-on training experience.
  • Depends on the school, you get to use cutting edge dental equipment in a real dental office environment. These extras give you a peek into what it’s like to be a dental assistant in real life.
  • Personal approach – Students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with instructors and classmates.
  • Some dental assisting schools offer internship opportunities. Internships are great when it comes to applying for your next job.
  • Most dental assisting schools offer financial assistance. There are also government programs providing financial aid for students, which can help pay for your dental assisting education. 

The Cons

  • The schedule is less flexible. If you choose a specific class, whether it’s a full-time, evening, or weekend option, you need to attend consistently to learn and graduate.
  • Travel is required. You will need to make arrangements to get to class, by car, bus, or bike, depending on your location. 

What Does Your Dental Assisting Future Look Like After You Graduate?

We all love daydreaming! It’s only natural to think about what life would be like as a dental assistant before investing your time and financial resources to become one. So let’s take a look at what kind of opportunities you may have after graduating with a dental assisting degree! Working with dentists in a dental office seems to be the obvious option, but there are other opportunities that you may not have thought of. Here are just a few:

  • Solo/group dental practices.
  • Specialty practices such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, endodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, and pediatric dentistry, etc.
  • Public health dentistry.
  • Hospital dental clinics.
  • Dental school clinics.
  • Insurance companies that process dental insurance claims.
  • Vocational schools, technical institutes, community colleges, dental schools, and universities, teaching others to be dental assistants.
  • Dental product sales representatives.

“I really enjoyed my time at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School. I was very hesitant at first being that I am an Oregonian and would be traveling a long way but I schedule a quick tour and signed up the same day. It is definitely a fast paced academy after all it is only 12 weeks, amazing ! being so you have to come in ready to discipline yourself, being that classes are only 2 days out of the week you truly have to take it upon yourself to put in the work outside of school and study the materials with the tools that are given to you, their is no room to slack off. Theirs no need to be scared though. I had some amazing instructors that were always willing to help. My instructors were raj and Christina and they are the most loving open people. Christina is always willing to help and go out of her way to find you the best answers and ways to do something. Raj is very knowledgeable, she is the expert ! if you have the pleasure of meeting her I would definitely try to take as much as I can from what she knows about being a dental assistant, she is a great mentor. She is also always willing to help and has been a big help to me even after graduating.

Lastly if you are coming out from another state I highly recommend to study for any certificates as soon as possible before even starting the academy if you can, that is of course if you are wanting to find a job as soon as you graduate 🙂

Thank You Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School !”

– Veronica B

Some of the Common FAQs We’ve Heard From Our Past and Current Dental Assisting Students. We Hope These are Helpful to You!

Why is Dental Assisting Better than Other Healthcare Careers?

You may be considering a career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or other medical technicians. However, be aware that these positions require long hours, including nights and weekends — often at low pay. By comparison, most dental assistants work a traditional Monday-Friday 9-5 schedule with weekends off and earn more than other entry-level healthcare workers, too!

I’ve Never Worked in Healthcare Before. Will I Make a Good Dental Assistant?

Very few of the students at our Camas Dental Assistant School have any healthcare experience. Most of our students are high school graduates who have worked in retail or sales positions but who are excited about finding a career instead of just another job. At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, we will help you develop the skills and confidence you need to succeed as a dental assistant!

Do I Need a License to Work as a Dental Assistant in Vancouver or Portland?

Most entry-level dental assisting positions in Washington do not require a license. To work as a dental assistant in Oregon, you will need to pass licensing exams or have 1,000 hours of work experience in Washington.

Can I Speak with one of Your Instructors Before I Apply?

Absolutely! We encourage anyone interested in our dental school to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our experienced instructors or sit in on a class. You can also shadow Dr. Bharathi at her dental practice if you like.

How Much do Dental Assistants Make In Washington State?

After graduating from our dental school, dental assistants in Washington and Oregon, including the Vancouver, Camas, and Portland areas, earn around $35,000 annually. As you build

How Much do Dental Assistants Make An Hour?

experience in the field, you can make up to $27 an hour!

Where Do Your Students Come From?

Students at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School come from cities throughout the Portland and Vancouver metro area and surrounding suburbs, including Camas, Washougal, Oregon City, Tualatin, Beaverton, Gresham, Tigard, Hazel Dell, Hillsboro, and Battleground.

Congratulations on Considering a Career Change! Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School is Here for You!

We hope you find this information helpful as you begin your journey to a career change. Becoming a dental assistant could provide the freedom and fulfillment you seek, and we’d love to be your teacher! If you’re not sure about applying, we encourage you to schedule a meeting with one of our doctors, shadow us for a day, or connect with some of our graduates. A better life awaits you!

Have More Questions? 

Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School

19301 SE 34th St, Ste 105
Camas, WA 98607
Hours: Mon-Sun 8:30am-6:30pm
Class Hours: Tues 6pm-10pm & Sun 8am-4pm

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Office Phone: (360) 818-7273
Office Fax: (360) 369-4527