How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Beaumont 92223
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Beaumont CA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest 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 college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs 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 offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Beaumont dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some California dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Beaumont dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the California practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at California community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Beaumont area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Beaumont home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Beaumont area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps 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 California schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Beaumont area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Beaumont area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Beaumont area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Beaumont dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the California schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 92223 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Beaumont in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Beaumont CASelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally 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 normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.