How to Become a Dental Assistant in Annapolis California
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Annapolis CA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional 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 Job of a Dental Assistant in Annapolis CA
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Annapolis CA dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Annapolis CA
Dental assistant courses are offered at California community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including 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 California trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Annapolis CA dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant course can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Annapolis CA home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing California programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Annapolis CA area schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Annapolis CA typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited California programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the Annapolis CA college you decide on offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Annapolis CA area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Annapolis CA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Annapolis CA dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Annapolis CA area programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Annapolis CA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Annapolis CA home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Annapolis CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Annapolis California that you may find helpful.
The Annapolis Valley is a valley and region in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It is located in the western part of the Nova Scotia peninsula, formed by a trough between two parallel mountain ranges along the shore of the Bay of Fundy. Statistics Canada defines the Annapolis Valley as an economic region, composed of Annapolis County, Kings County, and Hants County.
The valley measures approximately 126 kilometres (78 mi) in length from Digby and the Annapolis Basin in the west to Wolfville and the Minas Basin in the east, spanning the counties of Digby, Annapolis and Kings.
The steep face of basaltic North Mountain shelters the valley from the adjacent Bay of Fundy and rises over 260 metres (850 ft) in elevation near Lawrencetown. The granitic South Mountain rises to a somewhat higher elevation and shelters the valley from the climate of the Atlantic Ocean approximately 100 kilometres further south on the province's South Shore.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Annapolis CA
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Annapolis CA.
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