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How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assistant West Point TX

How to Select the Best Dental Assistant School near West Point Texas

West Point TX dental assistant with oral surgeonSelecting the ideal dental assistant school near West Point TX is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials 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 generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.

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The Duties of a Dental Assistant

dental assistant working with West Point TX dentistDental assistants are an important part of any West Point TX dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

Dental Assistant Training Options

dental assistant helping West Point TX dentistDental assistant courses are offered at Texas community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, 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 provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. 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 Texas community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with West Point TX dental practices or dentists.

Dental Assistant Online Training Programs

West Point TX student attending online dental assistant programChoosing an online dental assistant school can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your West Point TX home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask West Point TX dental assistant schoolsAfter you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Texas schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the West Point TX area schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental assistant school for you.

Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in West Point TX typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Texas programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the West Point TX school you select has the program that’s right for you. However, keep 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 college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the West Point TX area  college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real West Point TX dental practice. They help 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 Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the West Point TX dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Find out from the West Point TX area schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in West Point TX.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near your West Point TX home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Considering a Dental Assistant Program near West Point TX?

If you are considering a dental assistant school in the West Point Texas area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.

United States Military Academy

The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, Army West Point,[6]The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year federal service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort that sits on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River with a scenic view, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is one of the four U.S. military service academies, and one of the five U.S. service academies.

The Academy traces its roots to 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson directed, shortly after his inauguration, that plans be set in motion to establish the United States Military Academy at West Point. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus's Norman-style buildings are constructed from gray and black granite. The campus is a popular tourist destination, with a visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army.

Candidates for admission must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a member of Congress or Delegate/Resident Commissioner in the case of Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. Other nomination sources include the President and Vice President of the United States.[7] Students are officers-in-training and are referred to as "cadets" or collectively as the "United States Corps of Cadets" (USCC). Tuition for cadets is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,300 cadets enter the Academy each July, with about 1,000 cadets graduating.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assistant West Point Texas

Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in How Long Does It Take To Become A Dental Assistant and wanting info on Associates Degree In Dental Assisting. But as you now know, 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 acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in West Point TX.

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