How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Temple City 91780
Picking the right dental assistant program near Temple City CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess 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 school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Temple City dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many California dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the California dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Temple City dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the California practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may 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
- Educating patients about oral care
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at California junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Temple City area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Temple City home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical 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 college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Temple City area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the California programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Temple City area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Temple City area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Temple City area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Temple City 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the California schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 91780 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Temple City at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental School near Temple City CAEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.