Deciding to become a dental assistant offers you the opportunity to work in the rewarding and satisfying dental field. To prepare for this career, you will probably need to have formal training. Most programs take from one to two years to complete. Of course, you first need to find some options in dental assistant schools in Arkansas.
Accreditation in an essential aspect of any school you choose. It ensures that employers and other educational institutions will recognize your degree and credits for employment or transfer. Additionally, in Arkansas, accreditation is essential in order to obtain a license as a dental assistant and begin a career in this field. There are only two dental assisting programs that have the required accreditation.
Dental Assistant Schools in Arkansas
The recognized accrediting agency in the state is the Commission on Dental Accreditation. CODA provides stringent requirements for accreditation that show a program meets high quality standards. The only two accredited dental assistant schools in Arkansas are Arkansas Northeastern College and Pulaski Technical College.
Arkansas Northeastern College is on South Division Street in Blytheville. The dental assisting program takes one year to complete and includes training in laboratory, business, and practical skills.
Pulaski Technical College is part of the University of Arkansas. It’s located on West Scenic Drive in North Little Rock. The school offers two program options, a technical certificate or an Associate of Applied Science degree. These daytime only programs take from nine months to two years to complete.
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Dental Hygiene Program Curriculum
Students in a dental assistant program learn various tasks and skills for working in the different roles they will take within a dental office or practice, such as front desk administration, chair assistance, preparation, and radiography. In a program, you will complete courses that include the following:
- First aid
- Medical terminology
- Fundamentals of dentistry
- Dental pharmacology
- Dental office administration
- Dental radiography
- Dental equipment basics
- Dental material care
Also, most programs include an externship to gain practical experience in the field.
This type of program helps to prepare you for state licensing requirements as well. You must be registered and licensed in order to complete duties that include monitoring of nitrous oxide, radiography, and coronal polishing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics dental assistant positions are increasing at a faster than average rate. The expected job growth from 2016-2026 is 19 percent. This means it is expected that there will be about 65,000 new job openings across the country.
When looking at salary, median annual pay for a dental assistant in the country as of 2018 was around $39,000. The salary range from the lowest to highest was about $27,000 to $55,000. The highest paying positions were in the government and offices of dentists and physicians.
Now that you have information about dental assistant schools in Arkansas, you can begin planning your education. Hopefully, learning more about your options, along with getting some career information will help make your decision easier.