Accredited Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Lake Arrowhead CA 92352

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Lake Arrowhead 92352

dental assistant training in Lake Arrowhead CAChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Lake Arrowhead CA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Lake Arrowhead dental assistant helping dentist 92352Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Lake Arrowhead dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many California dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Lake Arrowhead dental hygienist treating patient in CaliforniaWhen contrasting the job of a Lake Arrowhead dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at California junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Lake Arrowhead area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Lake Arrowhead homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lake Arrowhead home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask California dental colleges 92352After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Lake Arrowhead area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the California schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lake Arrowhead area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Lake Arrowhead area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Lake Arrowhead area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Lake Arrowhead dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the California colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 92352 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, 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 getting your education and must attend classes near Lake Arrowhead at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Lake Arrowhead CA

Picking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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