How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Newcastle 95658
Picking the right dental assistant training near Newcastle CA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Newcastle dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of California dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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
When contrasting the duties of a Newcastle dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably 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 supporting the California practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each 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 can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at California junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Newcastle area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Newcastle home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. 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 traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Newcastle area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the California colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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. Newcastle area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Newcastle area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Newcastle area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Newcastle dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the California programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 95658 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Newcastle at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near Newcastle CAEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.