How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Stonewall 78671
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Stonewall TX is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Stonewall dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Texas dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Texas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Stonewall dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Texas practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Texas community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Stonewall area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Stonewall home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Stonewall area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Texas programs 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 best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Stonewall area employers frequently 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 obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Stonewall area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Stonewall area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers sufficient 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Stonewall dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Texas colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 78671 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Stonewall in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Stonewall TXPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.