How to Become a Dental Assistant in Cerritos California
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Cerritos CA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account 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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually 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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations 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 duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants in Cerritos CA
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Cerritos CA dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying 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 office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Cerritos CA
Dental assistant courses are offered at California community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in California community colleges and technical schools. 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with Cerritos CA dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Selecting an online dental assistant program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cerritos CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing California programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Cerritos CA area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Cerritos CA typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited California colleges.
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 verify that the Cerritos CA school you select has the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in 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 Cerritos CA area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Cerritos CA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Cerritos CA dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Cerritos CA area colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Cerritos CA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Cerritos CA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Cerritos CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Cerritos California that you may find helpful.
Cerritos (Spanish for little hills), formerly named Dairy Valley because of the preponderance of dairy farms in the area, is an affluent suburban city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is one of several cities that constitute the Gateway Cities of southeast Los Angeles County. It was incorporated on April 24, 1956. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,041. It is part of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, California Metropolitan Statistical Area designated by the Office of Management and Budget.
Cerritos was originally inhabited by Native Americans belonging to the Tongva (or "People of the Earth"). Later, the Tongva would be renamed the "Gabrieleños" by the Spanish settlers after the nearby Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. The Gabrieleños were the largest group of Southern California Indians as well as the most developed in the region. The Gabrieleños lived off the land, deriving food from the animals or plants that could be gathered, snared or hunted, and grinding acorns as a staple.
Beginning in the late 15th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the New World and worked their way to the California coast in 1542. The colonization process included "civilizing" the native populations in California by means of establishing various missions. Soon afterwards, a town called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula (Los Angeles today) would be founded and prosper with the aid of subjects from New Spain and Native American labor.
Choose the Right Dental Assistant Program near Cerritos CA
Choosing the ideal dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Cerritos CA.
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