How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Fort Mohave 86426
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Fort Mohave AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Fort Mohave dental office and can perform a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Arizona dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Fort Mohave dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Arizona practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arizona community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade 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. Some programs also offer internships with Fort Mohave area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Fort Mohave home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required 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 college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Fort Mohave area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Arizona schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fort Mohave area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Fort Mohave area dental practices 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 a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Fort Mohave area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Fort Mohave dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Arizona schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level 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 fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 86426 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Fort Mohave at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Fort Mohave AZChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.