How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Concan 78838
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Concan TX is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors 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 obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, 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 cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Concan dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Texas dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying 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 handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Concan dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Texas community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Concan area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Concan home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Concan area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Texas colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Concan area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you decide on offers 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 work as a hygienist, most Concan area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Concan area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Concan dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges 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 position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Texas programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 78838 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Concan at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental College near Concan TXChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want 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 relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.