How to Become a Dental Assistant in Central Arizona
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Central AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Central AZ
Dental assistants are an important component of any Central AZ dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Central AZ
Dental assistant programs are offered at Arizona community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Arizona community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Central AZ dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Central AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Arizona programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Central AZ area colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished 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 School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Central AZ often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Central AZ college you select has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Central AZ area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Central AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Central AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Central AZ area schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to 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 differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Central AZ.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Central AZ home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Central AZ?
Following is some interesting background information about Central Arizona that you may find helpful.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant Program near Central AZ
Choosing the right dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Central AZ.
More Awesome Arizona Cities
Business Results 1 - 10 of 4