How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Spur 79370
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Spur TX is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive 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 look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Spur dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Spur dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Texas community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast 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 two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Spur area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Spur home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Spur area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Texas colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Spur area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Spur area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Spur area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Spur dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Texas schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 79370 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Spur in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental College near Spur TXSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.