Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Crowley TX 76036

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Crowley 76036

dental assistant training in Crowley TXSelecting the ideal dental assistant program near Crowley TX is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Crowley dental assistant helping dentist 76036Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Crowley dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

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

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 a Dental Hygienist

Crowley dental hygienist treating patient in TexasWhen contrasting the job of a Crowley dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, work 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 gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Texas community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Crowley area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Crowley homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Crowley home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Texas dental colleges 76036After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Crowley area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Texas colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Crowley 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 provided for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you select has 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 have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Crowley area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 could 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 best college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Crowley area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in 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, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Crowley dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Texas colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 76036 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Crowley at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Right Dental College near Crowley TX

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education 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 programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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