How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Edwards 81632
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Edwards CO is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Edwards dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Colorado dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Colorado dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Edwards dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Colorado practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Colorado community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Edwards area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Edwards home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area 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 dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Edwards area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Colorado colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Edwards area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Edwards area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Edwards area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Edwards dental practice. They help 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 Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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? Find out from the Colorado colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are 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 experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 81632 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Edwards at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near Edwards COSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly 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 schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.