Search For Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Craig CO 81625

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Craig 81625

dental assistant training in Craig COSelecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Craig CO is an essential 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 selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the school’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 money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year 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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Craig dental assistant helping dentist 81625Dental assistants are an integral component of any Craig dental office and can perform a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Colorado dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Colorado dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Craig dental hygienist treating patient in ColoradoWhen comparing the role of a Craig dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Colorado practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed 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 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 courses are offered at Colorado junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating 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 often 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Craig area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Craig homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Craig home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Colorado dental colleges 81625When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Craig area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Colorado programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Craig area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Craig 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 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Craig area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers enough 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Craig dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Colorado colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 81625 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Craig in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Pick the Right Dental School near Craig CO

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational 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 generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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