Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Woodland Park CO 80863

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Woodland Park 80863

dental assistant training in Woodland Park COPicking the ideal dental assistant training near Woodland Park CO is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Woodland Park dental assistant helping dentist 80863Dental assistants are an integral part of any Woodland Park dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Colorado dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Colorado 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 decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Woodland Park dental hygienist treating patient in ColoradoWhen comparing the duties of a Woodland Park dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 supporting the Colorado practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed 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 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 available at Colorado junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Woodland Park area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Woodland Park homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Woodland Park home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Colorado dental colleges 80863Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Woodland Park area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Colorado programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Woodland Park area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Woodland Park area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Woodland Park area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Woodland Park dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Colorado colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs 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 if they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 80863 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Woodland Park at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 responsibilities.

Choose the Ideal Dental College near Woodland Park CO

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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