How to Become a Dental Assistant in Weston Missouri
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training course near Weston MO is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in getting 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 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants in Weston MO
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Weston MO dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Missouri dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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 Training Options near Weston MO
Dental assistant courses are provided at Missouri community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 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 assisting classes. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Missouri 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with Weston MO dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Weston MO home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Missouri schools and programs. 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 schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Weston MO area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Weston MO frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Missouri schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the Weston MO school you choose offers the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Weston MO area college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Weston MO dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Weston MO dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Weston MO area schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Weston MO.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Weston MO home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Weston MO?
Following is some interesting background information about Weston Missouri that you may find helpful.
Lewis and Clark Expedition stopped at "Bear Medison" island, near the location of today's city hall. Weston was the oldest settlement in the Platte Purchase of 1836 and was therefore also the farthest western settlement (thus, "West Town") in the United States until the admission of Texas as a state in 1845. Another suggested origin is related to a story about a discharged US Army dragoon by the name of Joseph Moore. He bought the land and then had First Sergeant Tom Weston of D Company, First Dragoons, stationed at Fort Leavenworth across the Missouri River, lay out a town plan. It is this individual the town is named for.
Weston was at one time the second largest port on the Missouri river, surpassing both Kansas City and St. Joseph and one point shortly after its founding it claimed to be the second largest city in Missouri. A flood in 1881 shifted the river into an old channel some 2 miles away. In 1850 over 265 steamboats a year docked at the Port of Weston.
The Weston Brewing Company was first established in 1842 by German immigrant, John Georgian, and was one of the first lager beer breweries in the U.S. Five arched, limestone cellars, dug to a depth of 55 feet below ground, were constructed to create the ideal conditions for Georgian’s lager beer which needed to be stored below 60 degrees. The brewery closed in 1919 when prohibition, otherwise known as "the great experiment", was signed into law. In 2005 the Weston Brewing Company reopened and one of the cellars now houses a unique bar which requires patrons to descend down through a small rock faced tunnel to get to the large, cool, cavern like bar.
Pick the Right Dental Assistant Program near Weston MO
Selecting the right dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly one year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Weston MO.
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