How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Menifee 72107
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Menifee AR is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’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 depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Menifee dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Arkansas dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Menifee dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Arkansas practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Arkansas community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Menifee area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Menifee home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Menifee area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Arkansas programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Menifee area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Menifee area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Menifee area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides enough 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, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Menifee dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Arkansas colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 72107 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm 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 Menifee at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Menifee AREnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide 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.