How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Frisco 80443
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Frisco CO is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving 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 finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Frisco dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Colorado dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 differ by state, so check with the Colorado dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Frisco dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, 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 often the initial person a patient interacts with 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Colorado community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Frisco area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Frisco home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Frisco area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Colorado schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Frisco area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Frisco area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Frisco area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school 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 programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Frisco dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Colorado colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 80443 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Frisco at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Frisco COPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.