How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near South Bend 76481
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near South Bend TX is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical 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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools 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 provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any South Bend dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a South Bend dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Texas junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one 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. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with South Bend area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your South Bend home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing South Bend area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Texas programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. South Bend area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, most South Bend area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most South Bend area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional South Bend dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing 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 Classrooms Small? Ask the Texas colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. 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 add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 76481 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near South Bend at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Right Dental School near South Bend TXSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend 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 relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.