How to Become a Dental Assistant in West Memphis Arkansas
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near West Memphis AR is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial 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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete 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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants in West Memphis AR
Dental assistants are an integral component of any West Memphis AR dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near West Memphis AR
Dental assistant courses are offered at Arkansas junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can require 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 Arkansas trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing 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 West Memphis AR dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant course can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your West Memphis AR home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Arkansas programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the West Memphis AR area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in West Memphis AR frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Arkansas schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the West Memphis AR school you select has the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good 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 could 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 Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the West Memphis AR area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real West Memphis AR dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering 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 West Memphis AR dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the West Memphis AR area programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in West Memphis AR.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near your West Memphis AR home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near West Memphis AR?
Following is some interesting background information about West Memphis Arkansas that you may find helpful.
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis.
Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.
Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.
Select the Best Dental Assistant School near West Memphis AR
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in West Memphis AR.
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