How to Become a Dental Assistant in Smackover Arkansas
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Smackover AR is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in receiving 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 1 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. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant in Smackover AR
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Smackover AR dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- 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 differ by state, so check with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Programs near Smackover AR
Dental assistant programs are available at Arkansas community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer 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 Arkansas trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Smackover AR dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Smackover AR home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Arkansas programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Smackover AR area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Smackover AR typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Arkansas colleges.
Is The Appropriate 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 Smackover AR college you decide on offers the program that you want. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Smackover AR area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Smackover AR 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Smackover AR dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Smackover AR area colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Smackover AR.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Smackover AR home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Smackover AR?
Following is some interesting background information about Smackover Arkansas that you may find helpful.
Smackover is a small city in northern Union County, Arkansas, United States. According to Citydata.com, the 2014 population was at 1,790. It had a large oil boom in the 1920s, with production continuing for some time.
In 1686, the French settlers called this area "SUMAC COUVERT", which translates to "covered in sumac bushes". This was transliterated, that is, phonetically Anglicized by the English-speaking settlers of the 19th century and later to the name "SMACKOVER."
Oil was discovered in this area in 1922; it attracted national attention, speculators, and an economic boom. Smackover was incorporated in 1923. In the 1920s there was a large-scale oil industry in Smackover. The industry declined here and across southern Arkansas by the 1960s, at a cost of many jobs and major losses to the area economy.
Choose the Right Dental Assistant College near Smackover AR
Choosing the right dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about one year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Smackover AR.
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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: [email protected] This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For Additional Information: Special Nutrition Programs P.O. Box 1437, Slot S-155 Little Rock, AR 72203-1437
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