How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Burlington 76519
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Burlington TX is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Burlington dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Burlington dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 Texas practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also 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
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Texas community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Burlington area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Burlington home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Burlington area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Texas schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important 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. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Burlington area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select 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 work as a hygienist, many Burlington area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Burlington area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Burlington dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Texas programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with 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 76519 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Burlington at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental School near Burlington TXSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.