How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Carnelian Bay 96140
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Carnelian Bay CA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties 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 generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Carnelian Bay dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many California dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Carnelian Bay dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the California practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at California junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 Carnelian Bay area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Carnelian Bay home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Carnelian Bay area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the California colleges you are reviewing 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 final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Carnelian Bay area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Carnelian Bay area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Carnelian Bay area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Carnelian Bay dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the California schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 96140 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Carnelian Bay 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Carnelian Bay CAChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.