Search For Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near El Monte CA 91731

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near El Monte 91731

dental assistant training in El Monte CAPicking the ideal dental assistant program near El Monte CA is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

El Monte dental assistant helping dentist 91731Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any El Monte dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some California dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Job of Dental Hygienists

El Monte dental hygienist treating patient in CaliforniaWhen comparing the role of a El Monte dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the California practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients about oral hygiene
  • 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After 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 Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at California junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of 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 sponsor internships with El Monte area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in El Monte homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your El Monte home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.

Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask California dental colleges 91731Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing El Monte area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the California programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. El Monte area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of El Monte area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most El Monte area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional El Monte dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the California schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 91731 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm 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 have to go to classes near El Monte 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.

Find the Best Dental School near El Monte CA

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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