How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Henderson 80640
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Henderson CO is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as 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 depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, 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 additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Henderson dental practice and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Colorado dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Colorado dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Henderson dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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 supporting the Colorado practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. 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 responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed 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 courses are provided at Colorado junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Henderson area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Henderson home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Henderson area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Colorado schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Henderson area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure 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 have a career as a hygienist, most Henderson area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Henderson area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Henderson 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher 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 Classes Small? Find out from the Colorado schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 80640 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Henderson at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Right Dental College near Henderson COChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available 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 training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.