How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Paint Rock 76866
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Paint Rock TX is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Paint Rock dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Paint Rock dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Texas community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Paint Rock area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Paint Rock home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Paint Rock area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Texas schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at 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 school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Paint Rock area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Paint Rock area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 could 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 best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Paint Rock area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient 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 select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Paint Rock 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Texas colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent 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 public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 76866 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Paint Rock in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Dental School near Paint Rock TXChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.