How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Kennewick 99336
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Kennewick WA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. 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. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Kennewick dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Washington dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Washington dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Kennewick dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Washington practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out 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
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Washington junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Kennewick area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good 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 remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Kennewick home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Kennewick area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Washington colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Kennewick area employers typically 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 provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Kennewick area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if 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 college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Kennewick area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Kennewick dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Washington schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99336 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Kennewick at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Kennewick WAChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.