How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Altus 73521
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Altus OK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Altus dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Oklahoma dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Oklahoma dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Altus dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Oklahoma practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Oklahoma community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Altus area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Altus home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Altus area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Oklahoma colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Altus area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Altus area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Altus area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Altus dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement 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 position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Oklahoma colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 73521 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Altus in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Altus OKSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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.