Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Graton CA 95444

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Graton 95444

dental assistant training in Graton CAChoosing the right dental hygienist school near Graton CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Graton dental assistant helping dentist 95444Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Graton dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many California dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Graton dental hygienist treating patient in CaliforniaWhen contrasting the job of a Graton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, work 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 every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are available at California community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold 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 interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Graton area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Graton homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Graton home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask California dental colleges 95444After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Graton area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the California programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Graton area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Graton 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 college has a good reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Graton area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Graton dental practice. They help 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 Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the California programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of 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 enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 95444 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Graton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Find the Right Dental College near Graton CA

Choosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively 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 generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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