How to Pick a Dental Assistant Program near Flagstaff Arizona
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Flagstaff AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Flagstaff AZ dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing 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 licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Flagstaff AZ practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying 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 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. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Arizona community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flagstaff AZ dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Arizona community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Flagstaff AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Arizona schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Flagstaff AZ area schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Flagstaff AZ often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Arizona college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Flagstaff AZ dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Flagstaff AZ area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Flagstaff AZ dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Flagstaff AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Flagstaff AZ area schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Flagstaff AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Flagstaff AZ home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best Dental Assistant Program near Flagstaff AZ
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Flagstaff AZ.
Tell Me About Flagstaff Arizona
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is located adjacent to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a center for medical device manufacturing, since Flagstaff is home to W. L. Gore and Associates.
There exist several stories and legends regarding the origin of the city's name. Surveyors, prospectors, and investors had traveled through the area in the mid- to late-19th century, and the act of stripping a pine tree to fly an American flag has been attributed to several individuals over the course of a twenty-year span. It is said that, because of the flag that was raised, the area surrounding it became known as Flagstaff.
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