How to Become a Dental Assistant in Benton Arkansas
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Benton AR is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make 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 program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Benton AR
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Benton AR dental office and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Benton AR
Dental assistant courses are available at Arkansas community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Arkansas community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Benton AR dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant program can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Benton AR home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Arkansas schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Benton AR area schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Benton AR typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Arkansas colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Benton AR school you choose offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Benton AR area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Benton AR dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Benton AR dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Benton AR area schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Benton AR.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Benton AR home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Benton AR?
Following is some interesting background information about Benton Arkansas that you may find helpful.
Benton is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Arkansas, United States and a suburb of Little Rock. It was established in 1837. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 30,681, making it the 12th largest city in the state of Arkansas. In 2017 the population was estimated at 35,789. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city of Benton, first settled in 1833 and named after Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, was formally chartered in 1836 when Arkansas became a state.
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,906 people, 8,713 households, and 6,186 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,221.2 people per square mile (471.5/km²). There were 9,315 housing units at an average density of 519.3 per square mile (200.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.81% White, 4.46% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 1.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,713 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.95.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Benton AR
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Benton AR.
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