How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Alma 31510
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Alma GA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally 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 analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Alma dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Alma dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Georgia practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Georgia community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Alma area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Alma home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically 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 appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best option for you.
Subjects 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 Alma area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Georgia schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Alma area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? 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 you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Alma area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Alma area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Alma dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Georgia colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 31510 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Alma in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental College near Alma GASelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.