How to Become a Dental Assistant in Wailuku Hawaii
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Wailuku HI is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college’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 depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Wailuku HI
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Wailuku HI dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Hawaii dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing 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 choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Wailuku HI
Dental assistant courses are available at Hawaii junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Hawaii vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in 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 Wailuku HI dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Wailuku HI home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. 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 proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Hawaii programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Wailuku HI area programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Wailuku HI often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited Hawaii programs.
Is The Appropriate 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 Wailuku HI school you decide on offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Wailuku HI area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Wailuku HI 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Wailuku HI dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Wailuku HI area schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, 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 check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Wailuku HI.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near your Wailuku HI home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Wailuku HI?
Following is some interesting background information about Wailuku Hawaii that you may find helpful.
Wailuku is located just west of Kahului, at the mouth of the ʻĪao Valley. In the early 20th century Wailuku was the main tourist destination on Maui, though it has since been eclipsed with the rise of the resort towns such as Kaʻanapali, so much that there are no hotels to speak of in Wailuku.
Historic sites in the town include Kaʻahumanu Church (named after one of Hawaiʻi's great monarchs, Queen Kaʻahumanu) which dates to 1876, the Wailuku Civic Center Historic District, the site of the Chee Kung Tong Society Building, and the Bailey House, a 19th-century former seminary and home that houses a history museum and the Maui Historical Society.
There are two ancient temples near Wailuku, called heiau — the Halekiʻi Heiau and the Pihanakalani Heiau. Both date back hundreds of years and were used for religious purposes by the native Hawaiians.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Wailuku HI
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Wailuku HI.
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