How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Jefferson 97352
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Jefferson OR is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should 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 Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Jefferson dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Oregon dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Oregon dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Jefferson 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 in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Oregon practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Oregon junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Jefferson area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Jefferson home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Jefferson area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Oregon colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Jefferson area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Jefferson area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Jefferson area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Jefferson dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Oregon programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 97352 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Jefferson at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Jefferson ORPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.