How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Anacortes 98221
Picking the right dental assistant college near Anacortes WA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Anacortes dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Washington dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Washington dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Anacortes 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 practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Washington practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Washington junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Anacortes area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Anacortes home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Anacortes area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Washington programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order 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. Anacortes area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Anacortes area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 may 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 ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Anacortes area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Anacortes dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs 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 position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Washington programs you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 98221 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 particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Anacortes at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental College near Anacortes WAPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually 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 typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.