Find Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Votaw TX 77376

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Votaw 77376

dental assistant training in Votaw TXChoosing the ideal dental assistant college near Votaw TX 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 much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Votaw dental assistant helping dentist 77376Dental assistants are an integral component of any Votaw dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Votaw dental hygienist treating patient in TexasWhen contrasting the role of a Votaw dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Texas community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually 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 nearly 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 component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Votaw area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Votaw homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Votaw home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the best option for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Texas dental colleges 77376Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Votaw area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Texas programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Votaw area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Votaw area dental offices 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 an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Votaw area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Votaw dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Texas programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer 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 students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 77376 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Votaw in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Votaw TX

Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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