How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Indian Hills 80454
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Indian Hills CO is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months 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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Indian Hills dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Colorado dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping 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 handling 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 policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Indian Hills dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Colorado practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Colorado community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 also. Many programs also offer internships with Indian Hills area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Indian Hills home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Indian Hills area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Colorado schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided 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 many valid reasons why you should only select 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. 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Indian Hills area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Indian Hills area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Indian Hills area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Indian Hills dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Colorado schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college 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 Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 80454 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Indian Hills in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Indian Hills COChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.