How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Commerce City 80022
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Commerce City CO is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Commerce City dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Colorado dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Colorado dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 Commerce City dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Colorado practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Colorado junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Commerce City area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Commerce City home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Commerce City area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Colorado schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence 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 college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Commerce City area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Commerce City area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Commerce City area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose 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 programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Commerce City dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Colorado programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 80022 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Commerce City at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical 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 responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental School near Commerce City COSelecting 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 we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.