How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Acton 93510
Picking the right dental hygienist training near Acton CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Acton dental practice and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of California dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Acton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the California practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at California community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Acton area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Acton home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Acton area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the California programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Acton area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Acton area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Acton area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Acton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the California colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 93510 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Acton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental College near Acton CASelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.