How to Become a Dental Assistant in Greenwood Arkansas
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Greenwood AR is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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 are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Greenwood AR
Dental assistants are an important part of any Greenwood AR dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Greenwood AR
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arkansas junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Arkansas vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Greenwood AR dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Greenwood AR home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Arkansas schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Greenwood AR area programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Greenwood AR typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited Arkansas programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Greenwood AR school you select offers the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that just because a college 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of 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. Most dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Greenwood AR area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Greenwood AR 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Greenwood AR dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Greenwood AR area colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Greenwood AR.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Greenwood AR home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Greenwood AR?
Following is some interesting background information about Greenwood Arkansas that you may find helpful.
Greenwood is a city in and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States. It is the fifth largest municipality in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 8,952 according to the 2010 US Census.
Greenwood was founded in 1851 when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County. The town was named for Judge Alfred Burton Greenwood. Judge Greenwood had been elected the previous year to serve as Circuit Judge over ten Northwest Arkansas counties. The first court house was a log structure, replaced in 1865 by a frame court house which was built in the center of the public square. This courthouse later burned and in 1916 the courthouse was relocated south of the square. Since that time the square has become a city park and site of many festivals, city picnics and celebrations.
The growth of Greenwood was comparatively slow, but by the breaking out of the Civil War it had attained some importance as a business center and by 1889 its business directory listed General Merchandise, Drugs, Groceries, Cotton Gin, Grist and Saw Mill, 3 Hotels, 3 Blacksmith and wood shops, 3 physicians, 1 dentist and 7 attorneys.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant College near Greenwood AR
Enrolling in the right dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Greenwood AR.
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