How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near San Augustine 75972
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near San Augustine TX is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any San Augustine dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing 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 deviate by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a San Augustine dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains 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 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Texas junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with San Augustine area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your San Augustine home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing San Augustine area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Texas schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. San Augustine area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many San Augustine area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of San Augustine area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently 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 an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real San Augustine dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Texas colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 75972 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near San Augustine at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Right Dental College near San Augustine TXSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.