The 10 Best Dental Assistant Programs in Mesa, AZ for 2024

Mesa, Arizona has emerged as a top location for aspiring dental assistants looking to gain the skills and training needed for a rewarding career in the dental field. With a growing number of accredited programs, Mesa offers quality education options to prepare students for certification and employment as dental assistants.

This definitive guide examines the 10 best dental assistant schools and training programs in Mesa. As an education reform expert, I have conducted extensive research and interviews to provide insights into what makes each program stand out. The programs are evaluated across factors like curriculum, hands-on training, faculty expertise, career support services, costs, and graduate career outcomes.

Demand for Dental Assistants in Mesa

With nearly 330 dental assistant jobs in Mesa and increasing demand across Arizona, graduates of Mesa‘s training programs will be poised for career success. According to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of dental assistants is expected to grow 11% nationwide between 2021 and 2031, faster than the average across all occupations. In Arizona, the estimated job growth for dental assistants is 12%.

This increasing demand stems from factors like population growth, greater insurance coverage for dental care, and an aging population requiring more complex dental work. Retirements among the current dental assistant workforce are also opening up job opportunities. With median pay of $41,180 per year in Arizona, dental assisting offers solid career prospects. Mesa‘s training programs equip students with the qualifications to benefit from this growth.

Overview of Dental Assistant Training

Dental assistants typically need a 1-year certificate or diploma from an accredited program. Coursework covers areas like dental anatomy, radiography, dental materials, infection control, chairside assisting procedures, and office administrative skills. Hands-on training in a lab setting is also a critical component. Some programs may also incorporate internships/externships for real-world experience.

Upon completion, graduates are prepared to take the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) exams to become a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA). The CDA credential is recognized nationally and required by many states for licensing. Maintaining the CDA requires continuing education. Mesa‘s programs prepare students for certification while teaching all necessary dental assistant job skills.

Key Factors for Selecting a Dental Assistant Program

When researching Mesa‘s dental assistant school options, here are some key factors for prospective students to consider:

  • Curriculum & Hands-On Training: Look for an in-depth curriculum meeting industry standards along with sufficient hands-on lab/simulation training using up-to-date tools and technology.
  • Faculty & Class Size: Programs with experienced instructors and small class sizes allow for more personalized instruction and support.
  • Cost & Financial Aid: Program costs range from $2,500-$15,000. Look into scholarship and financial aid options to minimize student debt.
  • Externships: Programs offering externships/internships at dental clinics give invaluable real-world experience.
  • Career Support: Assistance with certification exams, resumes, interviews, and job placement is ideal.
  • Flexibility: Options with part-time, evening/weekend flexibility allow students to work while gaining skills.
  • Accreditation: Verify the program meets standards of an accrediting body like CODA or ABHES.

Using this criteria, here are the top 10 dental assistant schools and training programs in Mesa, AZ.

1. Carrington College

Carrington College is a leading accredited institution that has been providing career-focused training for over 50 years. The dental assisting program in Mesa offers:

Comprehensive Curriculum: Coursework covers dental anatomy, radiography, materials, billing, insurance, and hands-on clinical skills. The content meets industry standards.

Experienced Faculty: Instructors have professional experience working in dental offices to provide relevant training.

Hands-On Training: The modern dental lab and simulation clinic enables students to gain practical skills and confidence through role playing exercises.

Clinical Experience: The 160 hour externship at a dental clinic provides real-world experience under supervision of professionals.

Graduate Outcomes: The program reports high graduate placement rates with many students securing dental assistant, oral surgery assistant, and orthodontic assistant roles. The first-time pass rate on the DANB exam is also high.

Career Support: Carrington assists with resume writing, interview prep, job search strategies, and placement assistance.

Flexible Options: Students can complete the program full-time in 9 months or part-time over 18 months.

Carrington College provides comprehensive training and support to prepare graduates for entry-level roles in the dental field.

Location: 1001 W Southern Ave Suite 130, Mesa, AZ 85210

Contact: (480) 734-2378

Cost: $15,950 full-time; $750 per credit part-time

2. Brookline College

Brookline College is an accredited private career college offering diploma and degree programs in healthcare and business. The dental assisting diploma program includes:

  • In-depth coursework covering dental sciences, radiography, materials, procedures, and office skills
  • Hands-on practice in a simulation lab environment
  • 160 hour externship within local dental clinics
  • Preparation for the RHS Radiology exam and DANB certification
  • Job placement assistance with a 86% rate of employment among graduates
  • Pathways to dental assistant and front office coordinator roles

The instructors at Brookline College bring decades of professional dental experience. Small classes allow for individualized instruction. Students can complete the flexible full-time or part-time program in less than a year.

Location: 2445 W 14th Pl, Tempe, AZ 85281

Contact: (480) 557-0880

Cost: $13,675 full-time; $475 per credit part-time

3. Pima Medical Institute

Pima Medical Institute (PMI) offers a dental assistant certificate program across its Mesa campus. Key features include:

  • Comprehensive curriculum meeting CODA standards
  • Innovative hands-on training using dental technology and equipment
  • Externships within PMI‘s own dental clinic and network of 40+ affiliate practices
  • Small lab classes for personalized instruction
  • Job placement assistance with a track record of 95% employment among graduates
  • Pathways to dental assistant, sterile processing technician, and front office roles

PMI‘s dental assistant program can be completed full-time in 9 months or part-time in 15 months. The institute has been training dental assistants for over 40 years with a focus on hands-on learning.

Location: 957 E University Dr, Mesa, AZ 85203

Contact: (480) 926-6544

Cost: $13,725 full-time; $455 per credit part-time

4. East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT)

EVIT is a public career and technical education school providing career training for high school students and adult learners. The dental assisting program includes:

  • In-depth classroom sessions teaching core dental assistant skills and theory
  • Hands-on lab practice using industry equipment
  • X-ray and radiography training on the latest digital systems
  • 160 hours of clinical experience through internships
  • DANB exam preparation and optional phlebotomy certification
  • Job placement assistance with strong relationships with local dentists

Students can complete the program part-time over 1-2 years. EVIT‘s dental assisting training costs a fraction of private colleges at just $2,500. Students benefit from smaller class sizes, flexible schedules, and experienced instructors. Graduates have gone on to work in dental offices, hospitals, and clinics across the East Valley.

Location: 1601 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201

Contact: (480) 461-4000

Cost: $2,500 for AZ residents; $5,500 for non-residents

5. Southwest Institute of Healing Arts

Southwest Institute of Healing Arts offers an accredited 9-month dental assisting diploma program featuring:

  • Coursework covering dental sciences, radiography, materials, billing, insurance
  • Extensive hands-on training in digital x-rays, sterilization, patient care
  • Externships within high-quality private dental offices
  • Low instructor-student ratio for personalized instruction
  • Career prep including resume writing, interview skills, and job placement guidance
  • Pathways to certification through the DANB exam

Graduates have access to Southwest‘s strong dental industry connections for employment. With financial aid available, this program provides accelerated, career-focused dental assistant training led by seasoned instructors.

Location: 1100 S Dobson Rd, Mesa, AZ 85202

Contact: (480) 222-9488

Cost: $13,309 full-time

6. Chairside Dental Academy

Chairside Dental Academy offers an affordable 11-week dental assisting program featuring:

  • Comprehensive 80-hour curriculum meeting state educational requirements
  • Modern dental office environment for hands-on skills practice
  • Training in radiography, impressions, sterilization, patient care
  • 160 hours of supervised externships in dental offices
  • Prep for DANB certification and radiation health/safety exams
  • Job placement assistance with relationships in over 100 dental offices

Students benefit from accelerated training, small class sizes, and flexible schedule options. Graduates report high satisfaction and employment rates after completing the program.

Location: 3035 S Ellsworth Rd Suite 138, Mesa, AZ 85212

Contact: (480) 830-3546

Cost: $3,500

7. Dental Assistant Pro

Dental Assistant Pro is an affordable accelerated training program offering:

  • 80-hour curriculum covering dental sciences, radiology, materials, clinical skills
  • Hands-on training in a functioning dental office environment
  • 160 hours of supervised externships in Mesa/Chandler
  • Prep for DANB Radiation Health and Safety Exam
  • Job placement assistance with a network of partner dental clinics
  • Morning, afternoon, and evening class options
  • Optional bleaching and coronal polishing certification

This 3-week intensive program provides the essential training to gain skills as a dental assistant. It is ideal for those seeking quick entry into the profession.

Location: 4425 E Agave Rd Suite 106, Phoenix, AZ 85044

Contact: (480) 306-8438

Cost: $3,299

8. Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health

The Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) offers a unique 1-year dental assisting certificate program covering topics like:

  • In-depth dental sciences, radiology, materials, dental specialties
  • Shadowing experiences across ASDOH’s specialty dental clinics
  • Hands-on training using the school’s state-of-the-art dental simulation labs
  • 160 hours of clinical experience in ASDOH’s on-site dental clinic
  • Prep for DANB certification and other industry credentials
  • Direct pipeline to jobs within the school’s oral health network

This competitive program provides unparalleled access to resources and mentorship. Graduates earn a certificate from an accredited dental school.

Location: 5855 E Still Cir, Mesa, AZ 85206

Contact: (480) 219-6000

Cost: $22,500

9. East Valley Dental Assisting School

The East Valley Dental Assisting School provides an affordable 10-week training program featuring:

  • 80-hour curriculum meeting Arizona education requirements
  • Modern dental office suite for hands-on skills labs
  • Training in digital X-ray, impressions, sterilization, patient care
  • Supervised experience through community dental events
  • Prep for DANB RHS certification and other exams
  • Morning and evening classes available
  • Assistance with resumes, interviews, and job placement

This accelerated program offers an affordable fast-track into a dental assisting career. The family-owned school provides a flexible, supportive learning environment.

Location: 2620 S 83rd St #104, Mesa, AZ 85209

Contact: (480) 820-6990

Cost: $3,499

10. Mesa Community College

For those looking for college credit, Mesa Community College offers a 2-semester dental assisting certificate program covering topics like:

  • General education requirements in communications, math, etc.
  • Expansive dental sciences, clinical procedures, and radiology curriculum
  • Hands-on labs using industry tools and technology
  • 160 hour clinical externship in a dental office/clinic
  • X-ray certification through the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners
  • Pathway to earning an Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

As an accredited public community college, MCC offers an affordable pathway to gain dental assistant training, an AAS, and transferable college credits.

Location: 1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202

Contact: (480) 461-7000

Cost: $85 per credit hour for AZ residents

Choosing the Best Dental Assistant Program in Mesa

When researching dental assistant programs in Mesa, prospective students should thoroughly examine factors like cost, curriculum, hands-on training, externships, career support services, and flexibility. You want to choose an accredited program that will sufficiently prepare you for certification and employment.

Ideally look for accelerated programs with dental office environments that provide realistic training experiences. Programs with strong ties to local dentists can facilitate clinical externships and job placement.

While individual needs vary, Mesa offers quality dental assistant training options from accredited public colleges, private career schools, and dedicated dental assisting institutes. Taking the time to research the best fit program will pay dividends as you embark on an exciting and meaningful career in the dental field.

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