How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Cascadia 97329
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Cascadia OR is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Cascadia dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Oregon dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Oregon dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Cascadia dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Oregon practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Oregon junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Cascadia area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Cascadia home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Cascadia area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Oregon schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cascadia area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Cascadia area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Cascadia area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Cascadia 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Oregon schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to 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 level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 97329 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Cascadia at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental Program near Cascadia ORChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.