How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Briggsdale 80611
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Briggsdale CO is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining 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 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Briggsdale dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Colorado dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Colorado dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Briggsdale dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 supporting the Colorado practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Colorado junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. 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 working in dental practices are usually required to hold 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Briggsdale area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Briggsdale home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical 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 get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Briggsdale area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Colorado programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Briggsdale area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate 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 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Briggsdale area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Briggsdale area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Briggsdale dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Colorado colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, 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 substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 80611 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Briggsdale in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Briggsdale COSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.