How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Summit 84772
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Summit UT is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Summit dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Utah dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Utah dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Summit dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably 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 Utah practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Utah junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with Summit area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Summit home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Summit area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Utah programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select 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 examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Summit area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Summit area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Summit area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Summit 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Utah schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 84772 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Summit in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Summit UTEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.