How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Clark 80428
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Clark CO is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Clark dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Colorado dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Colorado dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. 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 a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Clark dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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 supporting the Colorado practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Colorado community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Clark area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely 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 convenience of your Clark home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. 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 receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Clark area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Colorado programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Clark area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Clark 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 school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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 ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Clark area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Clark 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher 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 employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Colorado schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 80428 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Clark at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Clark COPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.