How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Ripon 95366
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Ripon CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Ripon dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some California dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 vary by state, so consult with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Ripon dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial 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 perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also 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 may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at California community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Ripon area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Ripon home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Ripon area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the California schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Ripon area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Ripon area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Ripon area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Ripon dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance 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 the Classes Small? Ask the California schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 95366 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Ripon in the evenings 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 practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental School near Ripon CAChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.