How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Graham 76450
Picking the right dental hygienist training near Graham TX is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting 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 as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Graham dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving 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 differ by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Graham dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Texas junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Graham area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Graham home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Graham area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several 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 provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Graham area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that you want. 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, a large number of Graham area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Graham area dental colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Graham 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Texas schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 76450 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Graham at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need 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 emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Graham TXChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training 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 choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.