How to Become a Dental Assistant in El Mirage Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near El Mirage AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish 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 longer training comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing 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 El Mirage AZ
Dental assistants are an integral component of any El Mirage AZ dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Programs near El Mirage AZ
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arizona community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Arizona trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with El Mirage AZ dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant course can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your El Mirage AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Arizona programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the El Mirage AZ area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in 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 program 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 El Mirage AZ frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the El Mirage AZ college you choose has the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent 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 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 best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the El Mirage AZ area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional El Mirage AZ dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the El Mirage AZ area programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in El Mirage AZ.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near your El Mirage AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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 El Mirage AZ?
Following is some interesting background information about El Mirage Arizona that you may find helpful.
El Mirage, Arizona
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,609 people, 2,121 households, and 1,737 families residing in the city. The population density was 786.8 people per square mile (303.8/km²). There were 3,162 housing units at an average density of 326.9 per square mile (126.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.26% White, 3.29% Black or African American, 0.85% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 26.18% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. 66.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,121 households out of which 48.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.1% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.59 and the average family size was 3.87.
In the city, the population was spread out with 36.8% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 13.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant College near El Mirage AZ
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in El Mirage AZ.
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Dental hygienists may also perform similar duties while working in hospitals, schools, prison facilities, public health clinics or nursing homes. While clinical settings are the most common employment situations for dental hygienists, there are other opportunities for professionals who want to move beyond clinical work.