How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Brawley 92227
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Brawley CA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Brawley dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of California dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Brawley dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at California junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Brawley area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Brawley home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Brawley area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the California schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in 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. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Brawley area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose has 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 have a career as a hygienist, most Brawley area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Brawley area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Brawley dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching 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 in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the California colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 92227 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Brawley in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Brawley CAPicking 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 several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.