How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant School near Mesa Arizona
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Mesa AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Mesa AZ dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving 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 Arizona dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job 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 mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Mesa AZ practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Arizona community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Mesa AZ dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 Arizona trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Mesa AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional 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 an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Arizona programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Mesa AZ area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Mesa AZ frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Arizona college you select 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Mesa AZ dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Mesa AZ area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Mesa AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Mesa AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Mesa AZ area schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Mesa AZ.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near your Mesa AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Find the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Mesa AZ
Picking the right dental assistant course is essential if you wish 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 fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Mesa AZ.
Tell Me About Mesa Arizona
Mesa (/ˈmeɪsə/ MAY-sə) is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is a suburb located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Phoenix. Mesa is the central city of the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south along with Queen Creek, and Apache Junction on the east.
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson, and the 36th-largest city in the US. The city is home to 439,041 people as of 2010 according to the Census Bureau. Mesa is home to numerous higher education facilities including the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University.
The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means "All Used Up" or "The Departed Ones", built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World. Some were up to 90 feet (27 m) wide and 10 feet (3.0 m) deep at their head gates, extending for as far as 16 miles (26 km) across the desert. By A.D. 1100 water could be delivered to an area over 110,000 acres (450 km2), transforming the Sonoran Desert into an agricultural oasis. By A.D. 1450, the Hohokam had constructed hundreds of miles of canals many of which are still in use today.
After the disappearance of the Hohokam and before the arrival of the early settlers little is known, as explorers did not venture into this area. By the late 19th century near present-day Mesa, U.S. Army troops subdued the Apache opening the way for settlement.
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