How to Become a Dental Assistant in Siloam Springs Arkansas
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Siloam Springs AR is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking 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 consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete 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 complete. Naturally with the longer training comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Siloam Springs AR
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Siloam Springs AR dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Programs near Siloam Springs AR
Dental assistant courses are offered at Arkansas community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Arkansas community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Siloam Springs AR dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant school might be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Siloam Springs 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 obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Arkansas programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Siloam Springs AR area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Siloam Springs AR often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Arkansas programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Siloam Springs AR school you choose has the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Siloam Springs AR area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Siloam Springs AR dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Siloam Springs AR dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Siloam Springs AR area schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Siloam Springs AR.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Siloam Springs AR home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Siloam Springs AR?
Following is some interesting background information about Siloam Springs Arkansas that you may find helpful.
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Siloam Springs is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The city shares a border on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line with the city of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, which is within the Cherokee Nation territory. The town was founded in 1882 and was characterized by the purported healing powers of the spring water feeding Sager Creek and trading with nearby Native American tribes. John Brown University (JBU) was founded in 1919 as a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in the city. Today, Siloam Springs is known for its efforts to preserve and revitalize the city's historic downtown and as a promoter of the arts via Sager Creek Arts Center and the JBU art gallery. The community is located on the western edge of the growing Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and has had a population increase of 47% to 15,039 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
Osage Indians were the known first inhabitants of the area. Siloam Springs' first white settlers were of German and Scots-Irish origin. Simon Sager is considered the founder of the town, then known as Hico.
The area is located in the Mid-South region of the country where the southern plains meet the Ozark Mountains. The city sits atop a plateau with many dogwood trees growing across the landscape. Siloam Springs is made up of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. The latter is in the territory of the Cherokee Nation in northeastern Oklahoma.
Pick the Right Dental Assistant School near Siloam Springs AR
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study before they enter the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Siloam Springs AR.
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