How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Tillamook 97141
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Tillamook OR is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the program’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Tillamook dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Oregon dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Oregon dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Tillamook dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main 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 Oregon practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered 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 Oregon community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Tillamook area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Tillamook home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Tillamook area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Oregon schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Tillamook area employers frequently 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 provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Tillamook area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Tillamook area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Tillamook dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance 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 position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Oregon colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger 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 witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 97141 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Tillamook at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental College near Tillamook ORChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.