Tips for Picking a Top Dental Assistant School in New York
Choosing which Dental Assistant school, you want to attend can definitely be tricky given how many different types of programs there are out there. Potential schools might offer in-class instruction, on-line classes, on the job training, clinical exposure, job placements, mentorship opportunities, and other resources for career advancement. It’s so important before making any final decisions that you really do your research and figure out what exactly you’re looking for in a Dental Assistant school so that you know you’re making the best choice for your career plans. Read on for some tips to ensure that you’re making the right choices when it comes to Dental Assistant training.
Learn Your State’s Dental Assistant Requirements
Before starting on your educational journey, it’s important to consider what your future plans are as well as where in the United States you may be interested in settling down for the long haul. The certification process for Dental Assistants varies from state to state, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting your education and learning about the appropriate certification process for the area you’re interested in. In New York state, for example, only those who have met all the requirements and are “registered Dental Assistants” are allowed to practice as Dental Assistants, however, in some states, no licensing or training is required. If you’re unsure about the requirements of your state when it comes to licensing, check out the Dental Assisting National Board’s (DANB) website for their online tool which will help you learn about the requirements in each state.
Researching Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have a good idea of your state’s requirements, the next steps are to take a look at all of the different Dental Assistant programs available to you. Some of the common programs include those where students receive training to become a nationally certified Dental Assistant by taking the NELDA (National Entry Level Dental Assistant) exam, as well as state-approved training programs where individuals can transition to work in their state of choice once finished with the program. There are also CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) programs which are generally recognized by state boards. Once you have narrowed down the type of certification you’re looking for, make sure to also check in about flexibility and scheduling. Does the program require you to be in full-time training, or can you spread out courses through a longer timeframe to accommodate your work schedule? Determining what time commitment is feasible for you is the next big step in narrowing down your options.
Check for Reviews
When it comes to education, reputation is important. As you’re narrowing down your options, make sure you’re doing research online to see what types of experiences or reviews there are about potential programs. The name of your course will be going on your resume so you want to ensure that whatever school you choose has a solid reputation and that there are no serious red flags out there.
Meet the Instructors
Once you have your training programs narrowed down to a few options, your next step should be getting in touch with the school itself for more information. You want a program with friendly and knowledgeable staff and instructors who are willing to answer questions and provide resources for your new career path, and getting in touch with the program staff is a great way to gauge whether or not this is the case. Ask to speak to a program instructor, and prepare some questions around how they support their students during their education, and what types of resources they provide for career advancement. If you’re met with unfriendly staff and have challenges being connecting to potential instructors or former student alumni, then these are definitely warning signs.
Curriculum and Placements
While you’re communicating with staff, another important step to learn more about program opportunities is to ask about the curriculum and job placements of the training course. Learning what is covered during classes through the curriculum is a great way to understand more broadly what type of training you’ll be doing so you can ensure the program is a good fit. Additionally, many programs offer either in-field work experience as part of the coursework, or have avenues for job placements after students have completed their programs. Be sure to inquire what types of work placement options are available, and what kind of support is provided to students after completion, as both of these things make amazing additions to a resume and will result in competitive applications for students emerging into the Dental Assistant field after completion of their program.
Class Size and Community
Being enrolled in a program where you’re class sizes are massive and you’re considered as just one of many when it comes to cohort size can definitely be a challenge. That’s why it’s important to ask the staff at potential programs what the enrollment size is of each cohort, and how large class sizes normally are. Smaller class sizes mean more one-on-one time with instructors, as well as a better chance that you’ll be able to have meaningful interactions with other members of the program. It can be comforting to meet others who are going through the same career transition that you are, so make sure you also ask about options for students to connect with one another while you’re doing your research.
If you’ve settled on the perfect program for your future, it’s time to make sure you have all your ducks in a row for the admissions process. Often program registration can be tricky and will involve a variety of steps from submitting applications, to potentially getting references, to working out a payment plan. Make sure you’re fully aware of the ins and outs of the admissions process well ahead of time so that you don’t get stuck trying to get everything together at the last minute.
Contact Our Dental Assistant School in New York
At Westchester School for Dental Assistants, we offer exceptional Dental Assistant certification for our students and will work with you to ensure that your transition into the Dental Assistant field is as smooth as possible. Learn more about our Dental Assistant Training program, get in touch with our knowledgeable staff with any questions you might have, and come learn from our expert faculty for quality Dental Assistant training today!