How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Rehoboth 87322
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Rehoboth NM is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting 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 finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually 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 talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Rehoboth dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some New Mexico dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New Mexico dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Rehoboth dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Mexico practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at New Mexico community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Rehoboth area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Rehoboth home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Rehoboth area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the New Mexico colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Rehoboth area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Rehoboth area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep 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 school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Rehoboth area dental schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Rehoboth 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the New Mexico programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 87322 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Rehoboth at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Rehoboth NMEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.