How to Become a Dental Assistant in Brentwood California
Picking the right dental assistant program near Brentwood CA is an essential first 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 much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining 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 one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Brentwood CA
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Brentwood CA dental office 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 obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Brentwood CA
Dental assistant programs are provided at California community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 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 sponsor internships with Brentwood CA dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant course might be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Brentwood CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing California programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Brentwood CA area programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Brentwood CA often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited California programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the Brentwood CA school you choose has the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Brentwood CA area program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Brentwood CA dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Brentwood CA dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Brentwood CA area programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Brentwood CA.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Brentwood CA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Brentwood CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Brentwood California that you may find helpful.
Brentwood is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. It is located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The population is 51,481 as of 2010, an increase of 121 percent from 23,302 at the 2000 census.
Brentwood began as a community in the late 19th century, and still is known throughout the Bay Area for its agricultural products, primarily its cherries, corn and peaches. Due to urban sprawl many of the old farms and orchards have been replaced by suburban developments since 1990. Brentwood is increasingly residential, with the rate of population growth in the triple digits during the 1990s and 69% from 2000 through 2005.
Brentwood was originally laid out on land donated from property owned by John Marsh, an East Contra Costa County pioneer who acquired Rancho Los Meganos, the land grant that Brentwood is built upon, in 1837 from Jose Noriega. Marsh was one of the wealthiest men in California and was instrumental in its becoming independent from Mexico and part of the United States. His letters extolling the potential for agriculture in California were published in newspapers throughout the East. They resulted in the first wagon trains to California. Marsh encouraged this, and allowed new arrivals to stay on his ranch until they could get settled. Rancho Los Meganos became the terminus of the California Trail. Brentwood was named after Marsh's ancestral home, the town of Brentwood in the County of Essex, England.
Find the Right Dental Assistant School near Brentwood CA
Picking the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually 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 on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Brentwood CA.
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