How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Fritch 79036
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Fritch TX is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Fritch dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Fritch dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably 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 Texas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Texas junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Fritch area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fritch home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Fritch area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Texas programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fritch area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Fritch area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly 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 applies for the online school options also. A number of Fritch area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Fritch dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Texas schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 79036 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Fritch at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Fritch TXEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.