Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near La Habra CA 90631

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near La Habra 90631

dental assistant training in La Habra CAChoosing the right dental hygienist college near La Habra CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the college’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 depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

La Habra dental assistant helping dentist 90631Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any La Habra dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some California dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:

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

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

La Habra dental hygienist treating patient in CaliforniaWhen contrasting the duties of a La Habra dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, 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 often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at California community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational 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 offer internships with La Habra area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in La Habra homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your La Habra home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask California dental colleges 90631When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing La Habra area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the California schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify 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. La Habra area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most La Habra area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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 best college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many La Habra area dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate 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, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real La Habra dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the California schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 90631 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near La Habra in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Right Dental School near La Habra CA

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period 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 schools typically 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 normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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