How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Hungerford 77448
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Hungerford TX 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 much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Hungerford dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Hungerford dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting 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 gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Texas community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of 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 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Hungerford area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Hungerford home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Hungerford area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Texas programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hungerford area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Hungerford area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Hungerford area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hungerford dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Texas programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire 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, such as the reputations of the schools 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 77448 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Hungerford at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Hungerford TXPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.