How to Become a Dental Assistant in Buena Park California
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Buena Park CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have 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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants in Buena Park CA
Dental assistants are an important part of any Buena Park CA dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Buena Park CA
Dental assistant programs are provided at California community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Buena Park CA dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant program might be a great alternative for getting your education. 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 via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Buena Park CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing California schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Buena Park CA area colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Buena Park CA often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited California schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Buena Park CA school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that just because a college 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 strong accredited dental hygienist program, but might 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 best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Buena Park CA area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Buena Park CA dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Buena Park CA dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Buena Park CA area schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask 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 amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Buena Park CA.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Buena Park CA home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Buena Park CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Buena Park California that you may find helpful.
Buena Park, California
Buena Park is a city in northwestern Orange County, California, about 12 miles (20 km) northwest of downtown Santa Ana, the county seat. As of Census 2010 its population was 80,530. It is the location of several tourist attractions, including Knott's Berry Farm. It is located about 24 miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles and is within the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Original Spanish explorers settled on the enormous ranchos by land grants made by the King of Spain. Manuel Nieto of the Portolà expeditions received such a grant in 1783, which was divided by his heirs into five separate ranchos in 1834. One of them, 46,806-acre (189.42 km2) Rancho Los Coyotes, included the current site of the City of Buena Park. The rancho’s adobe headquarters lay on what is now Los Coyotes Country Club’s golf course.
The area was transferred from Spanish authority to Mexican rule in 1822 and ceded to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican–American War. California was granted statehood in 1850. Americanization further expanded in the area after completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and its connection to Los Angeles in 1875. By then, Abel Stearns had acquired Rancho Los Coyotes in consideration for loans made to Pio and Andrés Pico. In 1885, James A. Whitaker, a wholesale grocer from Chicago, purchased 690 acres (2.8 km2) of this land from Stearns. In 1887, Whitaker founded the City of Buena Park in conjunction with the railway development of what we now know as Orange County.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Buena Park CA
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly one year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Buena Park CA.
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