How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Woodinville 98072
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Woodinville WA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Woodinville dental office and can perform a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Washington dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Washington dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 duties of a Woodinville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Washington practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensing examinations. 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 Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Washington junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Woodinville area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Woodinville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Woodinville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Washington colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Woodinville area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on has 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Woodinville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Woodinville area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Woodinville 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Washington schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 98072 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Woodinville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Right Dental Program near Woodinville WAPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 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 degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.