How to Become a Dental Assistant in Flagstaff Arizona
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Flagstaff AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Flagstaff AZ
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Flagstaff AZ dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Flagstaff AZ
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arizona junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Arizona trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Flagstaff AZ dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Flagstaff AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Arizona programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Flagstaff AZ area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Flagstaff AZ often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the Flagstaff AZ college you select has the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 may 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 school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Flagstaff AZ area school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Flagstaff AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help 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 Flagstaff AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Flagstaff AZ area schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can 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 amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Flagstaff AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Flagstaff AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Flagstaff AZ?
Following is some interesting background information about Flagstaff Arizona that you may find helpful.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a center for medical device manufacturing, since Flagstaff is home to W. L. Gore and Associates.
Select the Best Dental Assistant College near Flagstaff AZ
Picking the right dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Flagstaff AZ.
More Awesome Arizona Cities
Business Results 1 - 10 of 47