How to Become a Dental Assistant in Benicia California
Picking the right dental assistant school near Benicia CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine 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 significant issues to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Benicia CA
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Benicia CA dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Benicia CA
Dental assistant programs are available at California community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 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 assisting courses. 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 California community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Benicia CA dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant school might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Benicia CA home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing California programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Benicia CA area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Benicia CA frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited California schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Benicia CA school you choose has the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as 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 may 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 right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Benicia CA area school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Benicia CA dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Benicia CA dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Benicia CA area colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 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 schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Benicia CA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Benicia CA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Benicia CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Benicia California that you may find helpful.
Benicia (/bəˈniːʃə/ bə-NEE-shə; bə-NI-shə; Spanish pronunciation: [beˈnisja]) is a waterside city in Solano County, California, located in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It served as the state capital for nearly thirteen months from 1853 to 1854. The population was 26,997 at the 2010 census. The city is located along the north bank of the Carquinez Strait. Benicia is just east of Vallejo and across the strait from Martinez. Elizabeth Patterson has served as Mayor of Benicia since 2007.
The town is divided into four areas: the East Side (east of First Street), the West Side (west of First Street), Southampton (north of 780), and the industrial park. Most of the town's older homes are on the east and west sides. Southampton contains primarily single-family housing developments and condominiums, most of which were built between 1970 and 2000. The East Side includes the Benicia Arsenal, a former United States Army armory, which was bought by the city and is now used for a variety of purposes, most notably as live-work spaces for artists. The Arsenal is home to several historic (ca. 1860) landmark buildings such as The Clock Tower, the Camel Barn, and the Jefferson Street Mansion. The industrial park lies to the northeast of the residential areas of the city, and includes the Valero oil refinery. The Benicia State Recreation Area is on the far west edge of the city.
The main retail area in Benicia is First Street, which attracts out-of-town antique and boutique shoppers and those seeking small-town, historic charm. In 1987 Benicia was selected to participate in the California Main Street Program.
Select the Right Dental Assistant Program near Benicia CA
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Benicia CA.
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