How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Cottonwood 96022
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Cottonwood CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Cottonwood dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some California dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Cottonwood dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at California junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Cottonwood area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cottonwood home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Cottonwood area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the California colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Cottonwood area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Cottonwood area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong 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, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Cottonwood area dental programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Cottonwood 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the California colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 96022 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Cottonwood in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Cottonwood CAChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.