How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Sugar Land 77478
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Sugar Land TX is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Sugar Land dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Sugar Land dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas 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 teeth and gums and present 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Texas community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one 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 assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Sugar Land area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Sugar Land home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Sugar Land area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Texas programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good 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 condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sugar Land area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Sugar Land area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Sugar Land area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Sugar Land dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help landing 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 probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Texas colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized 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 experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget 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 available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 77478 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Sugar Land in the evenings 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near Sugar Land TXSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.