How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Westcliffe Colorado
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Westcliffe CO is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties 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 normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Westcliffe CO dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job 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
- Providing 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 differ by state, so consult with the Colorado dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Westcliffe CO practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Colorado junior colleges along with trade 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 offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Westcliffe CO dental offices are usually required to hold 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 Colorado 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 as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant college might be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Westcliffe CO home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Colorado schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Westcliffe CO area schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college 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. Employers in Westcliffe CO often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Colorado colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Colorado school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Westcliffe CO dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Westcliffe CO area college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Westcliffe CO dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Westcliffe CO dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Westcliffe CO area programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Westcliffe CO.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Westcliffe CO home in the evenings 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 protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant College near Westcliffe CO
Choosing the right dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Westcliffe CO.
Tell Me About Westcliffe Colorado
Westcliffe is a statutory town that is the county seat of Custer County, Colorado, United States. At the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 568, up from 417 in 2000.
Westcliffe had its start in 1881 when the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad was extended to that point. The community was named after Westcliff-on-Sea, a town in England.
Westcliffe is located west of the geographic center of Custer County at 38°7′58″N 105°27′57″W / 38.13278°N 105.46583°W / 38.13278; -105.46583 (38.132874, -105.465920). It lies in the Wet Mountain Valley, between the Wet Mountains to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Range to the west. The town of Silver Cliff is immediately to the east of Westcliffe.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.2 km2), all of it land.
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