How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near El Dorado Hills 95762
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near El Dorado Hills CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors 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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any El Dorado Hills dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many California dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a El Dorado Hills dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the California practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at California junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with El Dorado Hills area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your El Dorado Hills home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing El Dorado Hills area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the California schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. El Dorado Hills area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available 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 confirm that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many El Dorado Hills 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 school has an exceptional reputation and 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most El Dorado Hills area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real El Dorado Hills dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the California programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 95762 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near El Dorado Hills in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental Program near El Dorado Hills CAEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.