How to Pick a Dental Assistant Training Program near Maricopa Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Maricopa AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional 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 provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Maricopa AZ dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Arizona dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest 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 supporting the Maricopa AZ practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. When 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arizona community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Maricopa AZ dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 pursuing 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.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant program might be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Maricopa AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed 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 style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Arizona schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maricopa AZ area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Maricopa AZ frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Arizona colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure 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 work as a hygienist, many Maricopa AZ dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 may 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 ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Maricopa AZ area school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Maricopa AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Maricopa AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Maricopa AZ area programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Maricopa AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Maricopa AZ home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many 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 profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best Dental Assistant College near Maricopa AZ
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Maricopa AZ.
Tell Me About Maricopa Arizona
Maricopa is a city in the Gila River Valley in the State of Arizona. With an estimated 48,602 residents as of 2015[update], Maricopa is the second most populous incorporated city in Pinal County and eighteenth most populous in Arizona. Maricopa forms part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Maricopa has had three locations over the years: Maricopa Wells, Maricopaville and Maricopa Junction; the latter gradually became known as Maricopa. It started as an oasis around a series of watering holes eight miles north of present-day Maricopa, and about a mile west of Pima Butte. European-American traders and travelers called it Maricopa Wells. Several of Arizona’s rivers, the Gila, Santa Cruz, Vekol and Santa Rosa provided this oasis in the desert with an ample supply of water during this period of time.
During the late 1800s, Maricopa Wells was one of the most important relay stations along the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line and the later more famous Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Although little remains of this once bustling community, it played an important part in the progress and development of the Southwest. It was one of the best-known spots in Arizona during this period of time because it had a reliable source of water, and offered an abundant supply of food. The peaceful Pima and Maricopa farmers who lived and farmed nearby sold supplies to travelers and migrants.
The most prosperous period of time for Maricopa Wells was in the 1870s. During this time the trading center at the Wells provided water and food for not only the east-west travelers, but those who traveled to the north to Phoenix. Fairly good roads had been built by James A. Moore, the proprietor at Maricopa Wells, to all points north, and the Wells was a constant hubbub of activity.
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