How to Become a Dental Assistant in Altadena California
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Altadena CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. 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 generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing 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 Altadena CA
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Altadena CA dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 differ by state, so check 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. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Altadena CA
Dental assistant programs are offered at California community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in California trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in 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 Altadena CA dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a viable option 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 available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Altadena CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing California programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Altadena CA area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach 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 school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose 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 program 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 Altadena CA typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited California programs.
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 make certain that the Altadena CA college you choose has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Altadena CA area college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Altadena CA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Altadena CA dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Altadena CA area colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Altadena CA.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Altadena CA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required 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 issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Altadena CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Altadena California that you may find helpful.
Altadena is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately 14 miles (23 km) from the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, and directly north of the city of Pasadena, California. The population was 42,777 at the 2010 census, up from 42,610 at the 2000 census.
In the mid-1860s, Benjamin Eaton first developed water sources from the Arroyo Seco and Eaton Canyon to irrigate his vineyard near the edge of Eaton Canyon. This made possible the development of Altadena, Pasadena, and South Pasadena. He did the construction for B. D. Wilson and Dr. John Griffin, who jointly owned the Mexican land grant of Rancho San Pascual, about 14,000 acres (57 km2), that was the future sites of these three communities. They hoped to develop and sell this land in a real estate plan called the San Pasqual Plantation. Their efforts failed by 1870, despite Eaton's irrigation ditch that drew water from the site of present-day Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Arroyo Seco. They had failed because the land was relatively inaccessible and few believed crops could thrive that close to the mountains.
Eaton tried to sell the land for the partners, and in late 1873 he helped broker a deal with Daniel Berry, who represented a group of investors from Indiana, to buy 4,000 acres (16 km2) of the rancho. This included the land of present-day Altadena, but they developed a 2,500 acres (10 km2) section further south as Pasadena. In 1881, the land that would later become Altadena was sold to John and Fred Woodbury, brothers who launched the subdivision of Altadena in 1887. The land remained primarily agricultural, though several eastern millionaires built mansions along Mariposa Street, and a small community developed through the 1890s and into the next century.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant Program near Altadena CA
Picking the right dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many 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 training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly one year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Altadena CA.
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