A Guide to Phlebotomy Technician Certification Options

One of the best ways for phlebotomists to set themselves apart from other job candidates is to obtain national certification in the phlebotomy field. Several professional organizations offer phlebotomy technician certification, so it is up to you to choose the right one for your needs. The costs and certification requirements vary by organization, so review the requirements for each certification and decide which one to pursue. Becoming certified can help you get a better job or qualify for promotions with your current employer.

Test Tube Photo

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Horia Varlan

What is a certified phlebotomist?

A certified phlebotomist is someone who has passed a comprehensive certification examination and met all of the other requirements established by the certifying body. Many organizations require certified phlebotomists to graduate from accredited training programs and complete continuing education courses on a regular basis. A certified phlebotomist also has to have a certain amount of experience performing blood draws and capillary sticks.

What types of certification are available?

If you are interested in phlebotomy technician certification, you have several options. The National Healthcareer Association, American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, and the American Society for Clinical Pathology all offer national certifications for this career. Check with your supervisor to see if your employer has a preference for any of these certifications.

How do I become a CPT through the National Healthcareer Association?

The certified phlebotomy technician (CPT) credential offered by the NHA is available to phlebotomists who have at least one year of work experience. This experience must include a minimum of 10 capillary sticks and 30 venipunctures on live patients. If much of your experience involves using phlebotomy mannequins, you will have to get more experience with live subjects before you apply for this certification.

The registration fee for the CPT examination is $105 as of May 2013. You will be given one hour and 50 minutes to take the test, which has a total of 110 questions. The minimum scaled score required for certification is 390.

What are the phlebotomy certification requirements for the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians?

Work experience is one of the most important requirements for the ASPT phlebotomy certification. You must have at least one year of experience as a part-time phlebotomist or six months of experience as a full-time phlebotomist. Health professionals who draw blood specimens on a regular basis can also qualify for certification by providing a letter from a supervisor on facility letterhead. ASPT also requires certification candidates to have performed at least five skin punctures and a minimum of 100 successful venipunctures. The examination fee is $55, but you must also pay the ASPT membership fee before registering for the phlebotomy board exam.

What are the requirements for certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology?

ASCP certification is one of the most desirable for those who are interested in phlebotomy technician certification. Applicants have seven different ways to qualify for this certification.

  • Graduate from high school and complete an approved phlebotomy training program within the five years prior to taking the certification exam.
  • Graduate from high school and complete an acceptable phlebotomy training program that includes a minimum of 40 hours of classroom training and 100 hours of clinical training in an accredited laboratory. You must perform at least 100 successful blood collections during this clinical training.
  • Graduate from high school and complete one year of full-time work at an accredited laboratory within the five years prior to registering for the certification exam.
  • Graduate from high school and complete a nursing program or other allied health program that includes phlebotomy training. The training must occur in an accredited laboratory, and you must perform at least 100 successful blood collections. If you choose this route, you must provide a copy of your current license or a notarized certificate of completion from your school.
  • Obtain MLT or MT/MLS certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
  • Obtain DPT certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology and perform at least 100 successful non-donor collections within the five years prior to taking the phlebotomy board exam.
  • Graduate from high school and complete a training program approved by the California Department of Public Health. If you choose this route, you must complete a training documentation form and submit it to the ASCP. The form must be accompanied by a letter of authenticity printed on your school’s letterhead.

The fee for the ASCP phlebotomy certification exam is $135.

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Building a Career as a Baby Ultrasound Technician

If you are intrigued by the idea of working with babies, but you don’t want to become a pediatrician or an obstetrician, one option is to become a baby ultrasound technician. This would allow you to perform ultrasound examinations on infants without spending more than eight years in medical school. This career is a rewarding one, but you do need certain skills and personality traits to succeed. Do you have what it takes to be an ultrasound technician for babies?

Baby Feet Photo

Photo courtesy of Serenity Photography, Ltd.

Job Duties

The duties of this job are similar to those of any other ultrasound technician, except you work specifically with babies. Before performing an ultrasound on a baby, you have to explain the procedure to the infant’s caregiver and position the baby properly so that you can produce high-quality images. It might be necessary to reposition the baby during the exam, especially if you need a better view of a certain part of the body. After you complete the ultrasound, you must check the images to ensure that you captured all of the information you needed to capture. You might also be expected to consult with physicians and other medical professionals during or after each ultrasound.

Skills and Traits

Skill in performing quality ultrasound examinations is a must for this career. You must also have excellent communication skills, as you might have to soothe a fussy baby or explain important information to a parent or other caregiver. Basic computer skills are also important, as you will most likely have to use an electronic health record system to pull up patient records and record exam information. Compassion and empathy are also essential for a baby ultrasound technician, as you will likely encounter people who are upset or frustrated at some point in your career.

Education and Training

The first step in becoming an ultrasound technician for babies is enrolling in a diagnostic medical sonography program. If you do not already have a high school diploma or GED, you should obtain one before attempting to enroll in a post-secondary certificate or degree program. Once you have enrolled in such a program, you will take classes in ultrasound physics and instrumentation, ultrasound procedures, human anatomy and physiology, and other topics related to the ultrasound field. You will also complete an internship or clinical experience that gives you a chance to perform ultrasound examinations on real patients. The requirements for this internship will vary based on the school you choose, but most schools have established relationships with local hospitals and imaging centers, so you might have the opportunity to work in one of these facilities.

If you know ahead of time that you want to work with babies, try to get a clinical placement that gives you the opportunity to perform a number of pediatric scans. Many employers will not hire baby ultrasound technicians who do not have previous pediatric experience, so doing a pediatric ultrasound internship can help you get a rewarding job in the future. If you have an interest in becoming a neonatal ultrasound technician – someone who performs ultrasounds on premature babies – see if you can shadow someone who has this job or do your clinical experience in a neonatal care unit. The experience you develop during your internship will give you an edge over other applicants when you are ready to graduate and enter the job market.

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Is a Career as a Vascular Sonographer Right for You?

A vascular sonographer uses ultrasound technology to examine the arteries and veins. Ultrasound uses painless sound waves that bounce off the blood vessels, making it possible to produce images that help identify any abnormalities. The examinations performed by a vascular ultrasound technician include venous duplex scans, Doppler examinations, and abdominal vascular exams. These examinations help identify problems such as varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis. Some schools offer four-year training programs for those interested in this career, but it is possible to become a vascular sonographer by completing a certificate or associate’s degree program.

Blood Vessel Photo

Blood vessel photo courtesy of Flickr user Podknox

Daily Job Activities

One of the best things about this career is getting to work with different people every day. Although you perform the same tests on a regular basis, you work with people of all ages who have different symptoms and medical histories. This makes the job more interesting, and working with different people also helps you become more skilled at performing vascular ultrasound examinations on pediatric and elderly patients. These are just some of the duties you might be expected to perform as a vascular ultrasound technician:

  • Greeting patients as they arrive in the ultrasound exam room
  • Helping patients undress or prepare themselves for exams
  • Instructing patients on the proper positioning for each test
  • Performing vascular ultrasound examinations
  • Reviewing test images to ensure they are of high quality
  • Recording information about each test

Training Requirements

If you are interested in this career, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent before applying to a training program. Some training programs last for one year, but it is likely that you will need to complete several credits of prerequisites before beginning the vascular ultrasound portion of such a program. Many schools require students to take biology and anatomy and physiology before taking ultrasound-specific courses. If you have a full-time job, talk to an admissions counselor before enrolling in this type of training program. Some schools require 24 to 40 hours per week of clinical training to graduate from a vascular ultrasound program, so you might have a hard time building a work schedule around classes and clinical training requirements. The courses required for a certificate or degree vary by school, but you can expect to take courses related to the following areas:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Ultrasound physics
  • Principles of venous testing
  • Medical privacy laws
  • Medical ethics
  • Peripheral arterial testing principles

If you plan to apply to a vascular ultrasound program, it is a good idea to shadow a current vascular ultrasound technician before doing so. Doing this demonstrates your commitment to the field and may give you an edge over other applicants, which is important if your school has limited spots available in the vascular sonography program.

Career Opportunities

Once you successfully complete a training program, you have the opportunity to work in hospitals, outpatient imaging centers, cardiology practices, and other medical facilities. After gaining experience in the field, you may also qualify for employment with companies that manufacture ultrasound equipment.

Professional Certification

One way to increase the number of job opportunities available to you is to obtain a professional certification in vascular ultrasound. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists offers a vascular sonographer certification to those who are already registered in nuclear medicine technology, sonography, radiation therapy, or radiography. To qualify for this certification, you must pass a comprehensive examination, provide documentation of your vascular sonography experience, and meet the ethics requirements stipulated by the ARRT. The certification test has a total of 160 questions, of which 85 cover vascular sonographic procedures. The remaining 75 questions cover topics such as physics, sonography instrumentation, and image production.

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Medical Assistant vs Nurse: Which Career is Right for You?

Anyone considering a career in the medical field should get familiar with the different types of jobs available. Nursing is a rewarding career, but it does involve several years of training and a lot of responsibility on the job. If you are looking for a career that does not require more than a year or two of training, medical assisting is just one of the options available. Compare medical assistant vs nurse duties and education requirements to see which career is best-suited to your skills and interests.

Medical Image

Photo courtesy of Ramberg Media Images

Education and Training Requirements

The duties of a nurse depend on whether the nurse is a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse (sometimes called a licensed vocational nurse). It is possible to become a licensed practical nurse with one year of full-time training, which is similar to the length of a typical medical assisting program. However, a licensed practical nurse must take and pass a state licensing exam to become eligible to work as an LPN. When comparing the requirements of an LPN vs medical assistant, keep this in mind.

Registered nurses have a broader scope of practice than licensed practical nurses, so more training is required. Although it is possible to become a registered nurse without getting a bachelor’s degree, many employers now prefer to hire nurses who have bachelor’s degrees in nursing. One of the reasons for this is that the American Nurses Credentialing Center administers a program that recognizes medical facilities for excellence in nursing. This program, called the Magnet program, places a great deal of emphasis on hiring nurses with bachelor’s degrees. When comparing medical assistant vs registered nurse requirements, you must decide if you would prefer to attend school for four years and become a nurse or complete a shorter training program and become a medical assistant. Registered nurses must also pass a licensing examination, so this is something else to keep in mind.

Duties and Responsibilities

Medical assistants perform a wide range of clerical duties and basic clinical duties. These duties include making appointments, greeting patients, taking patient vital signs, measuring height and weight, preparing exam rooms before each patient arrives, assisting physicians during exams and procedures, and drawing blood. The major difference between LPN and medical assistant workers is that LPNs are able to provide more direct patient care. The duties of an LPN include inserting catheters, educating patients about how to care for themselves, changing bandages, and alerting doctors and registered nurses to changes in a patient’s condition.

Registered nurses perform advanced tasks such as starting IV lines, setting up and monitoring medical equipment, administering medication, providing discharge instructions to hospital patients, and assisting during diagnostic tests and medical procedures. Some registered nurses work as patient educators or provide advice about managing chronic illnesses. It is possible to specialize in critical care nursing, trauma nursing, or emergency nursing if that type of career appeals to you. Although there are some specialized assistants, they cannot perform many of the duties performed by nurses.

Salary

Salary is an important factor when deciding which career you should pursue. If salary is your primary concern, then a career as a registered nurse might be right for you. Medical assistants have a median annual salary of $31,524, while registered nurses have a median annual salary of $64,690. Licensed practical nurses have a median annual salary of $40,380. When looking at the salary of a medical assistant vs nurse, remember that nursing requires more education and training, so you might have to take out additional student loans or work extra hours during school to pay your tuition and other educational expenses.

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How to Work with Anesthesia Equipment Without Becoming a Doctor

If you have ever considered a career as an anesthesiologist, you might have been put off by the significant amount of schooling required. An anesthesiologist must complete a bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and a residency training program. If you do not have a huge college fund, this means taking out thousands of dollars in loans and working for nearly 10 years to achieve your goal. Fortunately, there is a way to work with anesthesia equipment without spending a decade in school. If working with anesthesia and helping people in a healthcare setting appeals to you, consider becoming an anesthesia technician. This anesthesia technician job description will tell you all about the duties and requirements for this job so you can decide if it matches your career goals and interests.

Operating Room PhotoWhat is an anesthesia technician?

Anesthesia technicians set up anesthesia equipment, assist with the administration of anesthetic drugs, and monitor patients to ensure that they stay safe during the administration of these drugs. Before a patient goes into surgery, the anesthesia technician sets up anesthetic machines, prepares the tubes and masks used to assist the patient with breathing, prepares intravenous medications, and applies oxygen saturation and blood pressure monitoring devices to the patient. During anesthesia administration, the duties of an anesthesia technician include positioning the patient properly, collecting blood samples, monitoring the patient’s vital signs, making sure the patient’s airway is secure, and maintaining appropriate anesthesia levels. When the procedure is completed, the anesthesia technician helps wake the patient. The technician also helps transfer the patient to a recovery room or post-operative care unit.

What knowledge, skills, and abilities are required?

Anesthesia technicians must have a solid understanding of infection control practices and biologic hazards to protect themselves and their patients from infections. If you want to enter this field, you should also be proficient in providing basic life support care to people in hospitals, surgery centers, and other medical facilities. Because some of the chemicals and tools used in an operating room pose a fire hazard, you should also know how to prevent OR fires and what to do if one occurs. Anesthesia technicians must also be able to set up, operate, and maintain anesthesia equipment; use and store cylinders of anesthetic gases safely; understand the indications for different types of anesthesia; and maintain an appropriate inventory of anesthetic supplies. As with all jobs in the healthcare field, you should have excellent interpersonal communication skills and the ability to work with people of all ages and levels of health.

What type of training is required?

If you have a particular employer in mind, ask to see a copy of their anesthesia technician job description, as the education and training requirements vary by employer. The American Society of Anesthesia Technologists and Technicians (ASATT) website says that all technicians should have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Some employers will not hire anesthesia technicians who have not completed a two-year healthcare training program or degree. Some schools offer programs specifically for those who want to build careers in this field. The required coursework will depend on which anesthesia technician school you choose, but most programs cover anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, principles of anesthesia, and pharmacology.

How do I become an anesthesia technician?

After reviewing the duties and requirements of this job, you might be wondering about how to become an anesthesia technician. If you already have a high school diploma or GED, the next step is to find out what type of training is required by employers in your area. Contact recruiters or HR representatives at local hospitals and surgical facilities to find out the minimum requirements. Use the information to find an anesthesia technician training program in your area. If the training program does not include a clinical experience, look for opportunities for job shadowing or internships at local hospitals.

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What You Need to Know About Becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant

There are several career paths available to those considering a career in the medical assisting field. If you prefer to handle back office duties such as billing and filing, you should consider becoming an administrative medical assistant. If you prefer to assist physicians with exams and perform direct patient care tasks, however, a career as a clinical medical assistant might be better for you. Both are rewarding careers, but a focus on clinical medical assisting gives you the opportunity to provide hands-on care to patients in hospitals, clinics, and private medical practices.

Clinical Duties

Stethoscope Photo

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Rosmary

Although clinical medical assistants perform some clerical duties, their primary duties involve assisting with patient exams, ensuring that exam rooms are set up properly for each exam, and performing other patient care duties. These are just some of the duties you can expect to perform as a clinical medical assistant:

  • Collecting laboratory specimens
  • Assisting with in-office medical procedures
  • Taking electrocardiograms (EKGs)
  • Conducting screening tests
  • Stocking exam rooms with supplies
  • Applying bandages
  • Taking temperature, pulse, and blood pressure
  • Assisting patients with exam preparation
  • Sterilizing medical instruments
  • Measuring the height and weight of patients
  • Explaining medical information to patients

Specialized Medical Assistants

The duties above are those performed by a general clinical medical assistant. Some facilities hire specialized medical assistants to work in departments such as ophthalmology or podiatry. An ophthalmology medical assistant performs advanced duties such as conducting basic eye examinations, administering eye drops, and teaching patients how to use glasses and contact lenses appropriately. A podiatric assistant might assist with surgical procedures or help make casts of a patient’s foot.

Career Requirements

If you want to become a clinical medical assistant, you must have a specific set of skills, abilities, and personality traits. Because you will be working with people, good interpersonal communication skills and compassion for others are absolutely necessary for success in this field. You should also be able to communicate well in writing, as medical assistants record patient information and prepare correspondence related to patient care. The ability to maintain patient confidentiality is of the utmost importance. Although not every employer requires the completion of a formal training program, completing such a program can give you an edge over other candidates when you are ready to apply for jobs. Some programs take as little as 9 months to complete, making them ideal for adult learners and students who want to enter the medical field quickly.

Professional Certification

Another way to enhance your resume is to become a certified clinical medical assistant. The National Healthcareer Association offers the CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) credential to those who meet all of the requirements and pass a timed certification exam. You must have a high school diploma or GED before qualifying for this certification. You must also have at least one year of work experience in the field OR complete a formal training program. If you choose to complete a formal training program, you must perform 10 EKG tests, 10 successful capillary sticks, and 30 successful blood draws on live people.

If you qualify to take the examination, you have the choice of taking a paper-and-pencil test or a computer-based test. The computer-based tests are offered at schools and commercial test centers. The CCMA exam has 160 questions, and candidates are given two hours and 40 minutes to complete the test. The registration fee for this exam is $149. You must achieve a scaled score of at least 390 to pass the exam and qualify for certification as a clinical medical assistant.

Making a Decision

If you are not sure if this career is right for you, ask if you can shadow a medical assistant at a local hospital or medical practice. Doing so will give you an opportunity to see what a clinical medical assistant does and decide if this career is something you would like t

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All About the Career of an Administrative Medical Assistant

Once you complete a medical assisting program, you have several employment options. One potential career path is that of the administrative medical assistant. This type of medical assistant typically performs clerical and administrative duties rather than hands-on patient care duties. If you prefer to handle tasks such as billing and answering the telephone, this career might be the right one for you. Before committing to this type of job, review an administrative medical assistant job description and talk to other people in this field to find out if it is something you would like to do.

Duties

Computer Keyboard Photo

Photo courtesy of Flickr user John_A_Ward

An administrative medical assistant performs a variety of clerical and administrative tasks on a daily basis. This type of medical assistant is often the first point of contact for people who come to a medical practice or call to ask questions or make appointments. Other medical assistant front office duties include verifying patient insurance coverage, processing insurance forms, and completing verification forms for patients. Back office medical assistant tasks include filing patient charts, scanning paperwork, and ordering supplies. With the right training, an administrative medical assistant can also perform medical billing and coding duties.

Administrative vs. Clinical Medical Assistants

If you are not sure if this career is right for you, think about your skills and interests. Would you prefer to handle paperwork and billing or interact with every patient that visits a medical office? Do you have the skills needed to complete paperwork and maintain patient records in an accurate manner? If you would prefer to perform clinical tasks such as collecting lab specimens and taking vital signs, then a career as a clinical medical assistant might be a better choice. If you can honestly say that you prefer administrative work, then a career as an administrative medical assistant matches your preferences.

Education and Training

The education and training requirements for this career vary by employer. Some employers will hire a medical assistant with basic clerical experience and train that person to perform tasks specific to the medical field. Other employers will not hire medical assistants who have not completed formal training programs. The training required for this career typically takes one to two years, so it is possible to enter the field relatively quickly. Medical assistant training programs typically cover topics such as medical billing, medical coding, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical office procedures, and clinical procedures.

Skills and Qualifications

Every employer has a different set of requirements, but successful medical assistants do have several skills and traits in common. You must have excellent interpersonal communication skills, as you will have to work with patients and colleagues from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Excellent writing skills are also required, as you might have to update patient records or write correspondence. Basic computer skills, typing proficiency, and data entry skills are also required.

Because you will encounter people who have acute or chronic illnesses, it is essential that you have the ability to treat people with respect and help them maintain their dignity at all times. Medical assistants spend a lot of time on the phone, so the ability to speak pleasantly is also necessary. Some employers require that their medical assistants have the ability to speak and write both English and Spanish, so this is something to consider before you enter the field. If you are not bilingual, consider signing up for a Spanish course at a community college in your area.

The medical assisting field is a rewarding one that offers many of opportunities for contact with patients and medical professionals. Becoming an administrative medical assistant is just one way to get started in this field. If you do not have the skills or training required by employers in your area, find a community college or career training school that offers the courses you need to get started.

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The Importance of Enrolling in Accredited Medical Assistant Programs

The Importance of Enrolling in Accredited Medical Assistant Programs

If you are aware of the requirements for education for medical assistant trainees, then you might come across the terms “accreditation” or “accredited by” in your search for a school or training program. Accreditation is simply the process of verifying that a school has fulfilled certain quality standards. Because accreditation is a voluntary process, not every school has accredited medical assistant programs. This means that you must be very careful when selecting a school, as a school that does not have a recognized accreditation may not meet certain standards.

Blood Pressure Cuff

Photo courtesy of Flickr user JeffreyTurner

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation is a mark of excellence among post-secondary educational institutions. When you see that a school has accredited medical assistant programs online or on campus, you know that you will be investing your money wisely. Schools benefit from accreditation by using it to attract new students and sources of funding, but students also benefit from accreditation in several ways.

  • It is easier to transfer credits from an accredited school to another school, as some schools do not accepted transfer credits from schools that do not have accredited programs.
  • You might have an easier time qualifying for scholarships, grants, and educational loans if you choose one of the many accredited medical assistant programs available.
  • Accredited schools must maintain the quality of their programs to keep their accreditation; you will benefit from this as long as you are enrolled in the program.
  • The American Association of Medical Assistants and some other organizations require that certification applicants graduate from accredited programs. If you plan to take a national certification exam, it is important that the school you attend has the right accreditation.

What accreditation should I look for when choosing a school?

If you are interested in a career as a medical assistant, there are two accreditations you should watch for when searching for an on-campus or online program. One is the CAAHEP accreditation, which is granted by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. CAAHEP accredits programs in more than 20 health professions, so it is one of the most widely-recognized accrediting bodies in the allied health field. Representatives from this organization recommend asking if a specific program is accredited before you decide to enroll at a particular school. Some programs are not accredited even though the schools themselves are accredited, so it is important to ask before committing to a school.

Another recognized accreditation is offered by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. ABHES has been recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education for its work as an independent accreditation body. Its mission is to promote educational excellence and enhance the quality of the education received by students at accredited schools. Each school that applies for ABHES accreditation must complete a 10-step process that begins with the submission of an application and ends with a review by the appropriate ABHES commission. ABHES does not grant accreditation until school representatives submit a self-evaluation report and attend an accreditation workshop. ABHES also requires an on-site visit so that its team members can make note of any concerns. Once a program has been accredited by ABHES, the school must submit an annual report to maintain the accreditation. Because an ABHES-accredited program goes through such a rigorous process, you have the peace of mind of knowing that the program has met specific quality standards.

Program Checklist

As a reminder, here are just a few things you should look for when choosing a medical assistant training program:

  • Is the medical assisting program accredited by CAAHEP, ABHES, or another reputable organization?
  • How much does the program cost (including books, supplies, and fees)?
  • How many students are in an average class?
  • Are the classes taught by experienced instructors, or do teaching assistants do some of the training?
  • What is the job placement rate for the program?

There are many accredited medical assistant programs available, so keep these questions in mind when comparing schools. Although price is important, it should not be the only thing you consider when making such an important decision. Ask about program accreditation to ensure you enroll in a school that offers the highest-quality programs.

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Directory of Top Dental Assistant Schools in Illinois

John A. Logan College

The dental assisting program at John A. Logan College is a one-year program that prepares students for proficiency in entry-level dental positions. The college is located in Carterville, so it is a convenient option for students in Carterville, Carbondale, and surrounding areas. The campus is located less than 90 minutes from Perryville, MO, so this program is also an option for Missouri students who are willing to make the commute to campus. Classes run from Monday through Thursday, leaving Friday available for guest speakers and seminars.

Dental Assistant Students

Photo of dental assistant students courtesy of Flickr user N A I T

Students in the dental assisting program must complete a total of 39 credits spread among the following courses:

  • Dental Assisting Procedures I and II
  • Oral and Dental Anatomy
  • Dental Radiography I and II
  • Head and Neck Anatomy
  • Dental Materials
  • Oral Histology and Embryology
  • Infection Control
  • Preventative Dental Health Education
  • Dental Emergencies and Pathology
  • Dental Office Procedures
  • Speech
  • General Psychology

All students must also complete a dental assisting externship to gain practical experience in this field. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The cost of this program is $92.00 per credit for in-district students; $216.40 per credit for out-of-district students; and $277.91 per credit for international and out-of-state students. Dental assisting students also have to pay additional fees to enroll in this program.

For more information about the John A. Logan dental assistant program, contact the school at (618) 985-3741.

Kaskaskia College

The Kaskaskia College dental assisting program is a 43-credit program that leads to a professional certificate. This program consists of nine credits of general education courses and 34 credits of coursework in the dental assisting major. You may complete the general education requirements at any time, but the school recommends completing them during the summer session before the program begins. Taking these courses early will give you some breathing room to focus on your dental courses during the fall and spring semesters. As a dental assisting student, you must complete the following courses:

  • Dental Science
  • Dental Materials I and II
  • Dental Radiology I and II
  • Head and Neck Anatomy
  • Dental Assisting Procedures I and II
  • Infection Control and Prevention
  • Clinical Practice
  • Therapeutics and Emergencies
  • Dental Office Management

The Kaskaskia College dental assistant program is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. In-district students must pay $92.00 per credit hour for tuition. The tuition rate is $179 per credit for out-of-district students and $390 per credit hour for international students and out-of-state students. Dental assistant students must pay additional program fees.

For more information about the Kaskaskia College dental assistant program, call the Admissions department at (618) 545-3040.

Elgin Community College

The Elgin Community College dental assistant program blends classroom instruction with approximately 300 hours of clinical training, giving students a solid foundation for starting their careers in the dental field. Students complete two clinical placements in general dentistry offices and one placement in a specialty office of their choice. Students can choose from periodontics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, or orthodontics when choosing their clinical specialties. Students must complete the following courses to receive a professional certificate:

  • Special Topics in Speech
  • Business Communications
  • Dental Assisting I and II
  • Dental Materials I and II
  • Clinical Dental Assisting
  • Dental Radiography
  • Dental Records and Communications
  • Dental Aseptic Technique
  • Clinical Practice I and II

Tuition for in-district students is $91.50 per semester hour. The per-credit fee is higher for out-of-district students, out-of-state students, and international students. The college offers deferred payment plans to make your education more affordable. In addition to tuition, dental assistant students must also pay the following fees:

  • $10 admission fee
  • $171 for photo ID, drug testing, and criminal background check
  • $35 to $65 for CPR training
  • Lab fees of $355 to $450 per semester
  • $150 to $200 for uniforms
  • $335 for vaccinations
  • $15 for safety glasses
  • $420 for textbooks
  • $30 for educational events

Students who wish to take the dental assistant certification exam must also pay a $475 exam registration fee. The total cost of the program is approximately $5,305 if you follow the course sequence outlined in the dental assisting handbook. For more information about this program, call (847) 697-1000.

Lewis & Clark Community College

Lewis & Clark Community College offers a certificate of proficiency in dental assisting. The tuition for this program is $4,180. Students should expect to pay an additional $1,330 for supplies and textbooks. If you follow the course sequence recommended by the school, it should take you one year to complete this program. One unique feature of the Lewis & Clark program is that you can apply the credits you earn in the dental assisting certificate program to the dental hygiene associate’s degree program. This gives you the opportunity to gain valuable experience as a dental assistant and then move on to a career as a dental hygienist.

Students enrolled in the dental assistant program must complete a total of 38 credits to receive a certificate of proficiency. These credits are awarded for completion of the following courses:

  • Dental Biology
  • Orofacial Anatomy
  • Operative Procedures
  • Preclinical Orientation
  • Dental Radiology
  • Dental Materials
  • Dental Specialties
  • Pathology I
  • Dental Office Management
  • Oral Histology and Embryology
  • Preventive Dentistry
  • Public and Private Communication
  • General Psychology

The Lewis & Clark Community College dental assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. For more information about program requirements, contact Chrissea Hallstead at (618) 468-4411.

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Top Dental Assistant Schools in Indiana

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College offers a one-year dental assistant program that leads to a certificate. This program is a blend of lecture, laboratory practice and clinical experience, which prepares students for entry-level careers in the dental field. During their enrollment in this program, students take the Dental Assisting National Board Radiation Health and Safety Exam, which is an important step in becoming a licensed dental assistant. This program is offered at five campuses.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Dental health photo courtesy of Flickr user Orofacial

Like many other training programs in this field, the application process for Ivy Tech consists of several steps. You must fill out a general college application and complete placement testing first. The results of your placement test will determine if you have to complete any academic skills courses before you qualify to apply for the dental assisting program. Once you complete any required skills courses, you must complete the application for the School of Health Sciences and make an appointment to meet one of the dental assisting faculty members. If you are accepted, you must complete an orientation program and fulfill requirements related to medical and dental exams, CPR certification and vaccinations.

This one-year program combines general education courses with specific dental assisting courses that will help you prepare for a career in the field. You must complete courses in math, interpersonal communication, composition and public speaking before moving on to your dental assistant courses. You must pass the following major courses and complete all other program requirements to receive your certificate.

  • Dental Anatomy
  • Dental Materials I and II
  • Dental Emergency and Pharmacology
  • Preventive Dentistry
  • Basic Integrated Science
  • Dental Office Management
  • Dental Radiography
  • Preclinical Practice I and II
  • Coronal Polishing
  • Clinical Practicum I and II

To learn more about this program, or to request an application packet, contact Southern Indiana University at 812-464-8600.

Indiana University

Indiana University has a dental assistant program at its Indianapolis campus. This certificate program takes two semesters to complete, making it a convenient alternative to lengthy programs that cost thousands of dollars per semester. Course content is delivered in approximately 1,000 hours of lecture and clinical instruction. Students also take advantage of the on-site dental assistant laboratory facilities to practice the skills they learn in the classroom. One of the major benefits of attending Indiana University is that the school also offers an online dental assistant training program. Both the on-campus and online programs are accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Students must complete these 15 courses to receive a professional certificate in dental assisting:

  • Oral Pathology, Physiology and Anatomy I and II
  • Oral Histology and Embryology I and II
  • Oral Anatomy
  • Dental Therapeutics and Medical Emergencies
  • Dental Materials I and II
  • Microbiology and Asepsis Technique
  • Radiology Clinic I and II
  • Preventive Dentistry and Nutrition
  • Clinical Science I
  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Expanded Restorative Dentistry
  • Practice Management

The online program utilizes Oncourse, a course management system, to deliver classroom content via computer or mobile device. Students must attend on-site laboratory sessions on Saturdays, so the program is not available entirely online. Students in the online course must also attend on-site clinical experience sessions. For more information about these programs, call the Indiana University School of Dentistry at 317-274-7957.

International Business College

The International Business College dental assistant program is a 16-month training program that leads to an associate’s degree. The course content includes training in performing dental procedures and training in common dental office functions. Upon successful completion of the program, students are prepared for entry-level positions in private dental practices, hospitals and dental clinics. This program includes the following concentration courses:

  • Dental Health Sciences and Nutrition
  • Dental Anatomy
  • Biomedical Science
  • Principles of Practice Management
  • Chairside Assisting I, II, III and IV
  • Dental Materials I and II
  • Dental Radiology
  • Expanded Function Dental Assisting I, II and III
  • Extramural Placements
  • CDA Exam Review

For more information about the International Business College dental assistant program, call 1-800-589-6500.

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