How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Wharton 77488
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Wharton TX is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Wharton dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Wharton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 Texas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Texas community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a 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 assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Wharton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Wharton home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Wharton area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Texas programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Wharton area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Wharton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Wharton area dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Wharton dental practice. They help 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 Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Texas colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 77488 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Wharton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Wharton TXSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose 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 right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.