How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Moreno Valley 92551
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Moreno Valley CA 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 much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should 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 available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Moreno Valley dental practice and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some California dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Moreno Valley dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive 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 working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Moreno Valley area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Moreno Valley home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Moreno Valley area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the California programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Moreno Valley area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Moreno Valley area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Moreno Valley area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Moreno Valley 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing 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 the Classes Small? Check with the California schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 92551 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Moreno Valley in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Moreno Valley CAChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly 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 normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.