How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Bainbridge Island 98110
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Bainbridge Island WA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Bainbridge Island dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Washington dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Washington dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Bainbridge Island dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Washington practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Washington community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Bainbridge Island area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bainbridge Island home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice 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 style of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Bainbridge Island area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Washington programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bainbridge Island area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Bainbridge Island area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Bainbridge Island area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Bainbridge Island dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Washington schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 98110 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Bainbridge Island in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental School near Bainbridge Island WAPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.