How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Glendale 91201
Picking the right dental assistant program near Glendale CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Glendale dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some California dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Glendale 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 assists 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 often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at California junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 complete 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Glendale area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Glendale home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Glendale area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the California schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant 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 exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glendale area employers typically prefer 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 available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Glendale area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 might 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 right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Glendale area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers 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, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Glendale dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the California programs you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 91201 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Glendale at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Glendale CASelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive 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 prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.