How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Atkins 72823
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Atkins AR is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Atkins dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Arkansas dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Atkins dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Arkansas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed 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 provided at Arkansas junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Atkins area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Atkins home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Atkins area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Arkansas colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Atkins area employers typically 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 available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Atkins area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Atkins area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Atkins 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Arkansas programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 72823 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Atkins at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental College near Atkins ARSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend 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 in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.