How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Bandera 78003
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Bandera TX is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the program’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Bandera dental practice and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Bandera dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 completed 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 trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Bandera area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bandera home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Bandera area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Texas colleges you are looking at in order to make 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 good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bandera area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Bandera area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. 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 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 college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Bandera area dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Bandera 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Texas schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 78003 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Bandera at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Dental Program near Bandera TXEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. 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 approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.