How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Kiowa 80117
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Kiowa CO is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Kiowa dental practice and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Colorado dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Colorado dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Kiowa dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Colorado 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 every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Colorado community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Kiowa area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Kiowa home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Kiowa area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Colorado programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Kiowa area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Kiowa area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Kiowa area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Kiowa 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Colorado schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 80117 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Kiowa in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Kiowa COChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.