How to Become a Dental Assistant in Maricopa Arizona
Picking the right dental assistant program near Maricopa AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should 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 available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant in Maricopa AZ
Dental assistants are an important part of any Maricopa AZ dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing 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 check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Maricopa AZ
Dental assistant programs are available at Arizona community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Arizona community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Maricopa AZ dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Maricopa AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Arizona schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Maricopa AZ area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach 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 right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Maricopa AZ 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, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Maricopa AZ college you select has the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but might 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 ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Maricopa AZ area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Maricopa AZ dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Maricopa AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Maricopa AZ area programs you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Maricopa AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near your Maricopa AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Maricopa AZ?
Following is some interesting background information about Maricopa Arizona that you may find helpful.
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in Arizona. With an estimated 51,977 residents as of 2018, Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.
During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Maricopa AZ
Choosing the right dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Maricopa AZ.
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