How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Airway Heights 99001
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Airway Heights WA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Airway Heights dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Washington dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Washington dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Airway Heights dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Washington practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Washington community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Airway Heights area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Airway Heights home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Airway Heights area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Washington schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Airway Heights area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Airway Heights area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Airway Heights area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides adequate 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, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Airway Heights dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Washington colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99001 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Airway Heights in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Airway Heights WASelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.