How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Mentone 92359
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Mentone CA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Mentone dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many California dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing 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 vary by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Mentone dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier 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 an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing 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 Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at California community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Mentone area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Mentone home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Mentone area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the California programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Mentone area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Mentone area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Mentone area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Mentone dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the California colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 92359 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, 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 receiving your education and must go to classes near Mentone at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Mentone CASelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.