How to Find the Right Dental Assistant College near El Mirage Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near El Mirage AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any El Mirage AZ dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the El Mirage AZ practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Arizona community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in El Mirage AZ dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Arizona vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your El Mirage AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Arizona schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the El Mirage AZ area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in El Mirage AZ typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Arizona colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Arizona college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most El Mirage AZ dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good 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 assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers sufficient 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, check that the El Mirage AZ area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real El Mirage AZ dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the El Mirage AZ area schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in El Mirage AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your El Mirage AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant Program near El Mirage AZ
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in El Mirage AZ.
Tell Me About El Mirage Arizona
El Mirage, Arizona
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,609 people, 2,121 households, and 1,737 families residing in the city. The population density was 786.8 people per square mile (303.8/km²). There were 3,162 housing units at an average density of 326.9 per square mile (126.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.26% White, 3.29% Black or African American, 0.85% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 26.18% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. 66.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,121 households out of which 48.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.1% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.59 and the average family size was 3.87.
In the city, the population was spread out with 36.8% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 13.8% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,813, and the median income for a family was $33,468. Males had a median income of $25,176 versus $19,192 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,342. About 12.6% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.2% of those under age 18 and 22.0% of those age 65 or over.
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