Top Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Sylmar CA 91342

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Sylmar 91342

dental assistant training in Sylmar CAPicking the right dental assistant training near Sylmar CA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually 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. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Sylmar dental assistant helping dentist 91342Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Sylmar dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of California dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Function of Dental Hygienists

Sylmar dental hygienist treating patient in CaliforniaWhen comparing the job of a Sylmar dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at California junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Sylmar area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Sylmar homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Sylmar home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask California dental colleges 91342After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Sylmar area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the California schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college 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. Sylmar area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure 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 work as a hygienist, a large number of Sylmar area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Sylmar area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sylmar dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the California colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume 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 along with the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 91342 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Sylmar at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Find the Right Dental School near Sylmar CA

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain 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 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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