How to Become a Dental Assistant in Calabasas California
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Calabasas CA is an essential initial 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 much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training comes more expense. 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Calabasas CA
Dental assistants are an important part of any Calabasas CA dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Education Programs near Calabasas CA
Dental assistant courses are provided at California junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential attained 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, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. 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 California trade schools and community colleges. 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Calabasas CA dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Calabasas CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing California schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Calabasas CA area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished 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 School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Calabasas CA often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited California colleges.
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 Calabasas CA school you select offers the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 might 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 ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion 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 essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Calabasas CA area college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Calabasas CA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching 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 Calabasas CA dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Calabasas CA area schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Calabasas CA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Calabasas CA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Calabasas CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Calabasas California that you may find helpful.
Calabasas is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley and in the northwest Santa Monica Mountains between Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, and Malibu, California. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 23,058, up from 20,033 at the 2000 census. The city was formally incorporated in 1991.
It is generally accepted that the name of Calabasas is derived from the Spanish calabaza meaning "pumpkin", "squash", or "gourd" (cf. calabash). Some historians hold the theory that Calabasas is derived from the Chumash word calahoosa which is said to mean "where the wild geese fly." Owing to vast presence of wild squash plants in the area, the squash theory is more prevalent among local residents. At the top of the Calabasas grade, which is east of Las Virgenes Road on the original El Camino Real, legend has it that in 1824, a Basque rancher from Oxnard spilled a wagonload of pumpkins on the road en route to Los Angeles. The following spring, hundreds of pumpkin seeds sprouted alongside the road. The area was named Las Calabasas—the place where the pumpkins fell.
In honor of its namesake, the City of Calabasas and the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce hold an annual Pumpkin Festival in October, including carnival games, exhibits, demonstrations, and live entertainment. The festival has evolved from a small-town fair to a significant annual event. Though the current Pumpkin Festival is held at Juan Bautista de Anza Park in Calabasas, the original festival was believed to have taken place where the traveling wagon carrying pumpkins overturned and started the area's first pumpkin patch.
Find the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Calabasas CA
Choosing the ideal dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly 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 normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Calabasas CA.
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