How to Pick a Dental Assistant Training Program near Catalina Arizona
Picking the right dental assistant college near Catalina AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Catalina AZ dental office and can perform a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Catalina AZ practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may 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 about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arizona junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Catalina AZ dental practices are normally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Arizona community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Catalina AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, 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 location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Catalina AZ area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Catalina AZ typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Arizona programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Arizona school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Catalina AZ dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers enough 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 Catalina AZ area school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Catalina AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Catalina AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Catalina AZ area programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Catalina AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Catalina AZ home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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 due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Find the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Catalina AZ
Picking the right dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly one 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 credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Catalina AZ.
Tell Me About Catalina Arizona
Catalina is a census-designated place (CDP) in Pima County, Arizona, United States. The population was 7,025 at the 2000 census. Catalina continues to experience increasing population growth, while attempting to maintain its rural character. Catalina remains an unincorporated community, with no plans for annexation into any nearby towns.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,025 people, 2,567 households, and 1,899 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 506.6 people per square mile (195.6/km²). There were 2,755 housing units at an average density of 198.7/sq mi (76.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 85.21% White, 0.54% Black or African American, 1.44% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 9.71% from other races, and 2.55% from two or more races. 23.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,567 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.0% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.
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