How to Become a Dental Assistant in Westwego Louisiana
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Westwego LA is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one 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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant in Westwego LA
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Westwego LA dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Westwego LA
Dental assistant courses are provided at Louisiana junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can require 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 Louisiana 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 offer internships with Westwego LA dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Westwego LA home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Louisiana schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Westwego LA area schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college 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 Westwego LA frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Louisiana programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Westwego LA school you select has the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might 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 Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Westwego LA area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Westwego LA 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Westwego LA dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Westwego LA area schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment 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, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Westwego LA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Westwego LA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Westwego LA?
Following is some interesting background information about Westwego Louisiana that you may find helpful.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km²), of which 3.1 square miles (8.3 km²) is land and 0.5 square mile (1.0 km²) (10.64%) is water.
One story states generally that Westwego was so named because it was a major crossing point on the Mississippi river during the great westward movement of the late 19th century. When travelers were asked their destination, they would often reply "west we go". Another more specific tale, recounted in John Churchill Chase's Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children is that the name was the specific outcome of an 1871 meeting of a railroad board of directors in New York, where planning was undertaken to use the site as an eastern terminus ("...west we go from there"). There has been further speculation that this use of "Westwego" as a place name may have been influenced by the board members' familiarity with the name of Oswego, New York.
The area of Westwego, Louisiana was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before Europeans settled here. These indigenous people created huge shells middens that can still be seen in the vicinity today. The French first developed the area in 1719 when French Minister of State LeBlanc started a plantation and a port along the Mississippi River. The port became an important site in the history of the transatlantic slave trade. The estate was later owned by the Zeringue family, who turned it into bustling sugar plantation, known as Seven Oaks. Planter Camille Zeringue built a canal at the plantation that played a prominent role in the community's history for decades. Other antebellum plantations in the area included the Whitehouse Plantation, Magnolia Lane, and the LaBranche Plantation among others. After Camille Zeringue's death, Seven Oaks was owned by Pablo Sala, who divided the property along the canal into lots, which he sold for $40 each. Many of these lots were purchased by displaced hurricane victims from Cheniere Caminada whose homes were destroyed in the great unnamed 1893 storm. With the addition of these families, who were mostly fisherman and trappers, the community of Salaville was born.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Westwego LA
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Westwego LA.
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