How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Post 79356
Picking the right dental assistant college near Post TX is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Post dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect 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 Post dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Texas community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Post area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Post home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Post area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Texas schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, 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 School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Post area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on 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 work as a hygienist, most Post area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Post area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Post dental practice. They help 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Texas programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to 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 programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 79356 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Post in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental College near Post TXSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.