How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Schofield Barracks 96857
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Schofield Barracks HI is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Schofield Barracks dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Hawaii dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Hawaii dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Schofield Barracks dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Hawaii practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Hawaii community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Schofield Barracks area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Schofield Barracks home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Schofield Barracks area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Hawaii colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Schofield Barracks area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Schofield Barracks area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Schofield Barracks area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Schofield Barracks 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Hawaii programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 96857 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Schofield Barracks at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental College near Schofield Barracks HIPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.