How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Alamo 38001
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Alamo TN is an important initial step toward beginning 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 picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Alamo dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Tennessee dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping 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 Tennessee dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Alamo dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Tennessee junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer 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 additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Alamo area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember 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 by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Alamo home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alamo area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Tennessee colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Alamo area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Alamo area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear 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 school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Alamo area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Alamo dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Tennessee programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized 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 experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount 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 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 38001 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Alamo at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical 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.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Alamo TNChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important 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 acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend 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 better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.