How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Albion 95410
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Albion CA is an essential initial 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 completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. 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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Albion dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of California dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Albion dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 assisting the California practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at California junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Albion area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Albion home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Albion 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 schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the California programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Albion area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Albion area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Albion area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Albion dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the California colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 95410 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Albion in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Right Dental School near Albion CAChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.