Dental assisting expands to Oregon college

Sept. 14, 2005
New program at Heal College will meet need for one of the fastest-growing careers in health care.

Heald College, a regionally accredited, nonprofit career college, has announced that it will begin offering courses in dental assisting at its Portland, Ore., campus this fall in order to meet the growing demand for skilled dental assistants in the northwest United States.

Dental assisting will be one of the fastest growing careers in health care through 2012, according to the US Department of Labor. Heald College has a long tradition of designing programs to provide skills for the healthcare careers that are in highest demand.

"With an average of 14 job postings a week in Portland alone, there is a big unmet need for well-trained dental assistants," said Joan Hayward, Heald College Portland Campus Director. "Dental assisting provides a good wage with the opportunity for flexible hours, and at Heald, students are fully trained and ready to work in ust one year."

According to the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), the national average salary for certified dental assistants is $15.48 an hour, far above minimum wage. Dental assisting careers also tend to be very stable. According to DANB, on average, assistants remain with a single employer for more than eight years.

The American Medical Association found that dental offices typically employ four assistants. With more than 500 dentists in the Portland metro area alone, Heald's new program could have an important impact on the economy throughout the Northwest.

Coursework for this program will include chairside assisting, dental anatomy, and dental office management. Students will also be expected to participate in externships, which offer practical hands-on experience in assisting dentists in local dental offices.

In order to provide students with the latest in dental equipment and technology, some of Heald's dental assisting classes will be offered at the newly built Center for Enhanced Training (CET), a $2 million dental training center and multi-purpose facility. In addition to providing top of the line equipment, CET also features an interactive training lab, and a 140-seat stadium style auditorium.

"We offer a unique educational experience at Heald College. Our focus is always on improving what we offer to our students. As a nonprofit, we are constantly reinvesting our profits in our programs, equipment, and instructors. At Heald, it all comes back to the students," said Hayward.

Classes in dental assisting at Heald College begin October 19. Students can apply online on the Heald Web site (, call 503-229-0492, or visit the Portland campus for more information (625 SW Broadway, Suite 200).