How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Salyer 95563
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Salyer CA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Salyer dental practice and can undertake a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many California dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 Salyer dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After 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 Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at California community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Salyer area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Salyer home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community 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 discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Salyer area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the California programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Salyer area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Salyer area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Salyer area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Salyer dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the California programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges 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 programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 95563 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Salyer at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Salyer CAEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.