How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Glade Park 81523
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Glade Park CO is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider 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 receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Glade Park dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Colorado dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing 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 have 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 a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Glade Park dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Colorado practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Colorado junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less 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 additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Glade Park area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glade Park home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Glade Park area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Colorado schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning 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 program 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. Glade Park area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Glade Park area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 strong 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, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Glade Park area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Glade Park 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Colorado schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 81523 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Glade Park at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, 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 because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Right Dental Program near Glade Park COChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning 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 addressing 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.