How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Sunnyvale 75182
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Sunnyvale TX is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges 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 indispensable component of any Sunnyvale dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Texas dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Sunnyvale dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, 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 a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Texas community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade 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 as well. Some programs also offer internships with Sunnyvale area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Sunnyvale home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Sunnyvale area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Texas colleges you are looking at in order to make 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 program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sunnyvale area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Sunnyvale area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Sunnyvale area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sunnyvale dental practice. They make it easier for 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Texas colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include 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 75182 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Sunnyvale in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Sunnyvale TXSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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.