How to Become a Dental Assistant in Yuma Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Yuma AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants in Yuma AZ
Dental assistants are an important part of any Yuma AZ dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Yuma AZ
Dental assistant courses are available at Arizona junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Arizona community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Yuma AZ dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant school can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Yuma AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Arizona schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Yuma AZ area schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Yuma AZ typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Arizona colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the Yuma AZ college you decide on has the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Yuma AZ area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Yuma AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Yuma AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Yuma AZ area schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Yuma AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near your Yuma AZ home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Yuma AZ?
Following is some interesting background information about Yuma Arizona that you may find helpful.
Yuma (Cocopah: Yuum) is a city in and the county seat of Yuma County, Arizona, United States. It is located in the southwestern corner of the state, and the population of the city was 93,064 at the 2010 census, up from the 2000 census population of 77,515.
Yuma is the principal city of the Yuma, Arizona Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of Yuma County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the 2014 estimated population of the Yuma MSA is 203,247. More than 85,000 retirees make Yuma their winter residence.
In 1540, Spanish colonial expeditions under Hernando de Alarcon and Melchior Diaz visited the area and immediately recognized the natural crossing of the Colorado River as an ideal spot for a city. The Colorado River narrows to slightly under 1,000 feet wide in one area. Military expeditions that crossed the Colorado River at the Yuma Crossing include Juan Bautista de Anza (1774), the Mormon Battalion (1848) and the California Column (1862).
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant Program near Yuma AZ
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Yuma AZ.
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