How to Choose a Dental Assistant School near Woodland Park Colorado
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Woodland Park CO is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Woodland Park CO dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- 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
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Colorado dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Woodland Park CO practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Colorado community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Woodland Park CO 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Colorado vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Woodland Park CO home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Colorado programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Woodland Park CO area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Woodland Park CO typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited Colorado schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Colorado school you choose 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 have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Woodland Park CO 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 a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Woodland Park CO area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Woodland Park CO dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Woodland Park CO dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Woodland Park CO area colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Woodland Park CO.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near your Woodland Park CO home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Woodland Park CO
Picking the right dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Woodland Park CO.
Tell Me About Woodland Park Colorado
Woodland Park, Colorado
The City of Woodland Park is a Home Rule Municipality that is the most populous city in Teller County, Colorado, United States and is immediately west of El Paso County and the unincorporated community of Crystola. Many residents in this bedroom community, which is surrounded by the one-million acre (4,000 km²) Pike National Forest, make the 17-mile (27 km) commute to Colorado Springs. Ute Pass lies 12 miles (19 km) to the west of Woodland Park on US 24. The population was 6,515 at the 2000 census. Nearby Douglas County is about a fifteen-minute drive from the city.
A post office called Woodland Park has been in operation since 1890. The community was named for the abundance of trees near the original town site.
Woodland Park is located at the eastern intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and State Highway 67. (The highways overlap west to Divide.)
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.7 square miles (15 km2), all of it land.
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