How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Wolfforth 79382
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Wolfforth TX is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting 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 generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Wolfforth dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Texas dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Wolfforth dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Texas junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Wolfforth area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Wolfforth home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Wolfforth area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Texas colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Wolfforth area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Wolfforth area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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 best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Wolfforth area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Wolfforth dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Texas colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 79382 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Wolfforth in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Dental School near Wolfforth TXPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your education 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.