How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Keene 93531
Picking the right dental assistant program near Keene CA is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Keene dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many California dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Keene dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably 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 assisting the California practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at California community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually 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 assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Keene area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Keene home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Keene area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the California programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Keene area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Keene 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 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Keene area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Keene dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the California programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 93531 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Keene at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Best Dental School near Keene CAPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.