How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Niwot 80544
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Niwot CO is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Niwot dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Colorado dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Colorado dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Niwot dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest 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 supporting the Colorado practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. 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
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Colorado junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Niwot area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Niwot home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. 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 necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Niwot area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Colorado schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Niwot area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Niwot area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Niwot area dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Niwot dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Colorado schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration 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 have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 80544 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Niwot in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental College near Niwot COPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.