How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Palestine 75801
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Palestine TX is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting 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 one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Palestine dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Palestine dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. When 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 Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Texas community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Palestine area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Palestine home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Palestine area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Texas colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Palestine area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Palestine area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, 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 school 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Palestine area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Palestine dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Texas programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 75801 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Palestine at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Palestine TXEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.