How to Become a Dental Assistant in Tempe Arizona
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Tempe AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze 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 closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors 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 receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Tempe AZ
Dental assistants are an important part of any Tempe AZ dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Arizona dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Tempe AZ
Dental assistant programs are available at Arizona junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Arizona vocational 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Tempe AZ dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Tempe AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Arizona schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Tempe AZ area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Tempe AZ often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Arizona programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Tempe AZ college you choose has the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and 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 could 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 Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Tempe AZ area college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Tempe AZ dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Tempe AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Tempe AZ area colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Tempe AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Tempe AZ home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Tempe AZ?
Following is some interesting background information about Tempe Arizona that you may find helpful.
Tempe (/ˈtɛmpiː/ TEM'-pee;Oidbaḍ in Pima), also known as Hayden's Ferry during the territorial times of Arizona, is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2010 population of 161,719. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale on the north, Chandler on the south, and Mesa on the east. Tempe is also the location of the main campus of Arizona State University.
Fort McDowell was established approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of present downtown Tempe on the upper Salt River in 1865 allowing for new towns to be built farther down the Salt River. US military service members and Hispanic workers were hired to grow food and animal feed to supply the fort, and less than a year later, had set up small camps near the river that were the first permanent communities in the Valley after the fall of the Hohokam. (Phoenix was settled shortly afterward, by 1867–68.) The two settlements were 'Hayden's Ferry', named after a ferry service operated by Charles T. Hayden, and 'San Pablo', and were located west and east of Hayden Butte respectively. The ferry became the key river crossing in the area. The Tempe Irrigating Canal Company was soon established by William Kirkland and James McKinney to provide water for alfalfa, wheat, barley, oats, and cotton.
Pioneer Darrell Duppa is credited with suggesting Tempe's name, adopted in 1879, after comparing the Salt River valley near a 300-foot (91 m)-tall butte, to the Vale of Tempe near Mount Olympus in Greece.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Tempe AZ
Choosing the right dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study before they enter the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Tempe AZ.
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