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Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Assisting Careers

General Questions

How Does Dental Assisting Compare to Other Healthcare Careers?

Dental assisting has many advantages compared to other healthcare careers. Many of our students consider studying to work as a medical laboratory assistant, certified nursing assistant (CNA), or other healthcare technicians. However, these positions often require long, unpredictable hours (including evening and weekend work) for low pay. By comparison, dental assistants tend to work regular office hours for much better pay.

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.

How Much do Dental Assistants Make?

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

Questions About Our School

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.

I’m Interested but not Ready to Enroll. Can You Answer My Questions?

Of course! We invite all prospective students to speak with our experienced instructors. If you’re interested, you can also sit in on one of our classroom sessions or shadow a dentist at our on-site dental practice.

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.

What are the Entrance Requirements for Your Dental Assisting Program?

We consider all applicants and look for potential students who will:

  • 1. Benefit from the training and experience we provide.
  • 2. Be great additions to the dental profession.

When evaluating candidates, we will ask you for several character recommendations by personal and professional references. In addition, a high school diploma is required.

Beyond that, no previous healthcare career or training is needed. Many of our students have worked in unrelated fields like retail sales.

How do I Apply?

It’s easy to apply online. If you have questions about any aspect of the application process, contact us online or call us at (360) 818-7273.

What will I Study in Your Dental Assisting Training Program?

At Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, our program focuses on the skills and knowledge you need to succeed as a dental assistant. Our students learn:

  1. Sterilization and disinfection.
  2. Radiography safety & techniques.
  3. Dental cements, bondings, and impressions.
  4. Restorative and cosmetic dental care.
  5. How to assist during dental procedures.

Read more about our training program.

Questions About Internship

Can I Find My Own Practice to Intern at?

Yes! If there’s a practice you’d prefer to work at, you’re welcome to complete your internship at the dental practice of your choice. Be aware that it is harder to intern in Oregon as you will not have the x-ray license that Oregon requires for Dental Assistants.

Can I Complete Internship Hours on the Weekends?

At our affiliated, on-site dental practice, we only offer internships during weekday business hours.

Where Will I Complete My Internship?

In addition to nearly 150 hours of classroom study, you’ll complete a dental assisting internship at our on-campus dental practice. We are the only local dental assisting training program with an affiliated onsite dental practice. This means you have unlimited opportunity to practice your skills and prepare for your career.

Questions About Post – Graduation

How will I get Started in My Dental Assisting Career?

When you complete your classroom training and internship at the Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School, we help you with your job search. We help place many of our graduates with local dental practices.

Almost 100% of our graduates begin working right away.

After I Graduate, Can I Start Work Right Away?

Every state has its own licensing requirements for Dental Assistants. However, it’s easy for graduates of Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School to start working right away because there are no licensing requirements for most entry-level dental assistant jobs in the state of Washington.

However, if you plan on working in Oregon, you’ll have to first work for 1,000 hours in Washington or pass a series of Oregon licensing exams. Your internship hours count towards the 1,000 hours of work experience.

Will I Need a License to Work After I Graduate?

All 50 states have their own licensing requirements. In the state of Washington, however, entry-level dental assisting positions require no licensure. That means you can start working right away. However, if you plan on working in Oregon, you’ll need to either pass a series of licensing exams or complete 1,000 hours of practical work experience in Washington (your internship hours DO count toward that 1,000-hour requirement).

Get in Touch With Us Today

Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School

19301 SE 34th St, #105
Camas, WA 98607
Hours: Mon-Sun 8:30am-6:30pm

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Office Phone: (360) 706-1989
Office Fax: (360) 369-4527