How to Become a Dental Assistant in Westwood California
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Westwood CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer 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 review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant in Westwood CA
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Westwood CA dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Westwood CA
Dental assistant courses are provided at California junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in California vocational 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 also. A number of programs also offer internships with Westwood CA dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Westwood CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing California schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Westwood CA area colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Westwood CA frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited California schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Westwood CA college you decide on has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 might 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 right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Westwood CA area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Westwood CA dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Westwood CA dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Westwood CA area colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Westwood CA.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Westwood CA home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Westwood CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Westwood California that you may find helpful.
Westwood is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lassen County, California, United States. Westwood is located 20 miles (32 km) west-southwest of Susanville, at an elevation of 5,128 feet (1,563 m). The population was 1,647 at the 2010 census, down from 1,998 at the 2000 census. Westwood is the hometown of mythical logger Paul Bunyan.
Westwood was built by T. B. Walker to be the operations center for the Red River Lumber Company in 1913. The first post office opened the same year. The Red River Lumber Company is credited as being "the world's largest electrical sawmill of the times." Red River Lumber Company also operated one of the first electric railways in the state built in 1927. The mill was equipped with the most modern equipment for its time; and the surrounding territory was crisscrossed by forest railways bringing logs to the mill. The railway shop at Westwood was home to 2-8-0 #102 and 2-8-2 #104 when forest railway operations ceased in the early 1950s. The four woods engines scrapped in 1953 were 2-6-0 number 1, 2-6-2 number 2, 2-8-2 number 3, and 3-truck Shay locomotive number 4.
William Laughead, an advertising copywriter who had once worked in lumber camps, took the stories of an old lumberjack and reworked them into the modern character. He sold the stories of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox "Babe" to the Red River Lumber Company, which published "Introducing Mr. Paul Bunyan of Westwood, California" in 1916 as an advertising pamphlet. Among other things, Laughead gave the name "Babe" to the blue ox, originated the idea that Paul Bunyan and Babe were of enormous size, and created the first pictorial representation of Bunyan.
Find the Best Dental Assistant College near Westwood CA
Choosing the right dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about one year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided 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 Westwood CA.
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