How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Arlington 76001
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Arlington TX is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Arlington dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Arlington dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Texas junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Arlington area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Arlington home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Arlington area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Texas schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Arlington area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on has 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Arlington area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Arlington area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Arlington dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Texas programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges 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 have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 76001 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Arlington in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Best Dental Program near Arlington TXEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.