How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Junction 76849
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Junction TX is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Junction dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Junction dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled 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 Texas community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Junction area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Junction home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Junction area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good 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 requirement in almost all states. To qualify 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Junction area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable 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 confirm that the school you choose 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 earn a living as a hygienist, most Junction area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Junction area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential 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. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Junction dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Texas colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, 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 level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 76849 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Junction at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Junction TXSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.