How to Become a Dental Assistant in Bakersfield California
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Bakersfield CA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the college’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 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However 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 talk about all of these issues 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 roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Bakersfield CA
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Bakersfield CA dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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 Programs near Bakersfield CA
Dental assistant programs are offered at California junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Bakersfield CA dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant school can be a viable alternative for obtaining 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 remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bakersfield CA home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing California programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Bakersfield CA area colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Bakersfield CA typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited California programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Bakersfield CA school you decide on offers the program that you want. However, keep 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, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Bakersfield CA area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Bakersfield CA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bakersfield CA dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Bakersfield CA area schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Bakersfield CA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Bakersfield 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 practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Bakersfield CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Bakersfield California that you may find helpful.
Bakersfield is a city in and the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 square miles (370 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is approximately 365,000, making it the ninth-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale and Rosedale, has a population of approximately 464,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.
The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate regional offices. The city is also the birthplace of the country music genre known as the Bakersfield sound.
Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating back thousands of years. The Yokuts lived in lodges along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts remained largely isolated until after the Mexican War of Independence, when Mexican settlers began to migrate to the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley. In 1851, gold was discovered along the Kern River in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in 1865, oil was discovered in the valley. The Bakersfield area, once a tule-reed-covered marshland, was first known as Kern Island to the handful of pioneers who built log cabins there in 1860. The area was subject to periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Bakersfield CA
Picking the ideal dental assistant course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Bakersfield CA.
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