How to Become a Dental Assistant in Camp Pendleton California
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Camp Pendleton CA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally 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. Obviously with the longer training comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants in Camp Pendleton CA
Dental assistants are an important component of any Camp Pendleton CA dental practice and can perform a multitude of duties. Their principal 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 earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Programs near Camp Pendleton CA
Dental assistant courses are offered at California community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in California vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Camp Pendleton CA dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Camp Pendleton CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing California schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Camp Pendleton CA area schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Camp Pendleton CA often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited California programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Camp Pendleton CA college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Camp Pendleton CA area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Camp Pendleton CA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Camp Pendleton CA dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Camp Pendleton CA area schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Camp Pendleton CA.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Camp Pendleton CA home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Camp Pendleton CA?
Following is some interesting background information about Camp Pendleton California that you may find helpful.
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is the major West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps. It is located on the Southern California coast, in San Diego County, and bordered by Oceanside to the south, Cleveland National Forest, Orange and Riverside counties to the north, and Fallbrook to the east.
The base was established in 1942 to train U.S. Marines for service in World War II. By October 1944, Camp Pendleton was declared a "permanent installation" and by 1946, it became the home of the 1st Marine Division. It was named after Major General Joseph Henry Pendleton (1860–1942), who had long advocated setting up a training base for the Marine Corps on the west coast. Today it is the home to myriad Operating Force units including the I Marine Expeditionary Force and various training commands.
In 1769, a Spanish expedition led by Captain Gaspar de Portolá explored northward from Loreto, Baja California Sur, seeking to reach Monterey Bay, something never before done overland by Europeans. On July 20 of that year, the expedition arrived in the area now known as Camp Pendleton, and as it was the holy day of St. Margaret, they christened the land in the name of Santa Margarita. The expedition went on to establish military outposts and Franciscan missions at San Diego and Monterey.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant College near Camp Pendleton CA
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Camp Pendleton CA.
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