How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Richmond 84333
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Richmond UT is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete 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. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Richmond dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Utah dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- 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 Utah dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Richmond dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Utah practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Utah junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Richmond area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Richmond home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Richmond area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Utah colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Richmond area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Richmond area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Richmond area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Richmond dental practice. They help 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 Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Utah schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 84333 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Richmond 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Richmond UTPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.