How to Become a Dental Assistant in Albany California
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Albany CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in receiving 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 generally 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations 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 available.
The Role of Dental Assistants in Albany CA
Dental assistants are an important component of any Albany CA dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Programs near Albany CA
Dental assistant programs are offered at California community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can take 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 California trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Albany CA dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Albany CA home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. 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 proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing California programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Albany CA area schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Albany CA typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited California colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Albany CA college you select offers the program that you want. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Albany CA area college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Albany CA dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Albany CA dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Albany CA area schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Albany CA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Albany CA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Albany CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Albany California that you may find helpful.
In 1908, a group of local women protested the dumping of Berkeley garbage in their community. Armed with two shotguns and a twenty-two-caliber rifle, they confronted the drivers of the wagons near what is now the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Buchanan Street. The women told the drivers of the horse-drawn garbage wagons to go home, which they did quickly and without complaint. Shortly thereafter, the residents of the town voted to incorporate as the City of Ocean View. In 1909, voters changed the name of the city, primarily to distinguish the city from the adjacent section of Berkeley which had previously been named Ocean View. On a vote of 38 to 6 the city was renamed in honor of Albany, New York, the birthplace of the city's first mayor, Frank Roberts.
Albany is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, bordering the city of Berkeley to the south and east, and the Contra Costa County cities of El Cerrito and Richmond to the north. Albany's northern and southern borders are defined by two creeks, Codornices Creek on the south and Cerrito Creek on the north. Cerrito Creek takes its name from "El Cerrito de San Antonio", now known as Albany Hill. The hill's unusual location near the bay shore makes it a prominent landmark in the East Bay. The rest of the city is relatively flat by Bay Area standards, except for a small area near the base of the Berkeley Hills.
Albany's waterfront has undergone significant man-made changes; the most prominent landform is now the Albany Bulb, a former garbage landfill jutting out into San Francisco Bay. The bulb was the site of a small art colony and shanty town until it was cleared to turn the area into part of the new Eastshore State Park.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Albany CA
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly 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 receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Albany CA.
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