How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Midvale 84047
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Midvale UT is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Midvale dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Utah dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Utah dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Midvale dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Utah practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Utah junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Midvale area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Midvale home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Midvale area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Utah 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 best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Midvale area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select has 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 work as a hygienist, most Midvale area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Midvale area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Midvale 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Utah schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs 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 related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 84047 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Midvale at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, 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 responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Midvale UTChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.