How to Become a Dental Assistant in West Hartford Connecticut
Picking the right dental assistant school near West Hartford CT is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants in West Hartford CT
Dental assistants are an integral component of any West Hartford CT dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Education Options near West Hartford CT
Dental assistant courses are provided at Connecticut community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Connecticut 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 component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with West Hartford CT dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant course might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your West Hartford CT home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Connecticut programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the West Hartford CT area schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order 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 Hartford CT frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Connecticut programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the West Hartford CT college you select offers the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the West Hartford CT area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real West Hartford CT dental practice. They help 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 Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the West Hartford CT dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the West Hartford CT area schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer 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 degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in West Hartford CT.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near your West Hartford CT home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near West Hartford CT?
Following is some interesting background information about West Hartford Connecticut that you may find helpful.
West Hartford, Connecticut
The town is known for its popular downtown area colloquially known as "West Hartford Center," or simply "The Center," which is centered on Farmington Avenue and South/North Main Street. West Hartford Center has been the community's main hub since the late 17th century. In 2008, Blue Back Square opened as a new addition to the central area. Blue Back includes a bookstore, a movie theater, two parking garages, various physician and medical offices, and several restaurants.
Incorporated as a town in 1854, the town was previously a parish of Hartford, founded in 1672. Among the southernmost of the communities encompassed within the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor metropolitan region, West Hartford is home to University of Hartford and the University of Saint Joseph.
In 2010, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine listed West Hartford as one of the nation's "10 Great Cities for Raising Families." In 2010, Kiplinger's ranked West Hartford #9 on its "10 Best Cities for the Next Decade" list. In 2010, CNN Money ranked West Hartford as the 55th best small city in America. In 2010, the national online magazine Travelandleisure.com cited West Hartford as one of 10 "coolest" suburbs in the nation. The magazine called the West Hartford Reservoir off Farmington Avenue "West Hartford's version of Central Park," and it also noted the town's "vacation-worthy hot spots, with cutting-edge restaurants, great shopping, and plenty of parking."
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near West Hartford CT
Choosing the right dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in West Hartford CT.
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