How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Solvang 93463
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Solvang CA is an essential 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 selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Solvang dental office and can perform a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many California dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Solvang dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at California community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Solvang area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Solvang home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office 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 mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Solvang area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the California colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Solvang area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Solvang 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 school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Solvang area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Solvang dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the California schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 93463 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Solvang in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Solvang CAPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.