Find Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Dunnigan CA 95937

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Dunnigan 95937

dental assistant training in Dunnigan CAPicking the ideal dental assistant training near Dunnigan CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account 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 getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Dunnigan dental assistant helping dentist 95937Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Dunnigan dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many California dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:

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

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Dunnigan dental hygienist treating patient in CaliforniaWhen contrasting the role of a Dunnigan dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the California practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

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

In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at California junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Dunnigan area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Dunnigan homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Dunnigan home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask California dental colleges 95937Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Dunnigan area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the California schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Dunnigan area employers often 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 available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Dunnigan area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and 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 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 right college for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Dunnigan area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Dunnigan dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Small? Check with the California schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools 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 whether 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 95937 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Dunnigan in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Best Dental College near Dunnigan CA

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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