How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Belle Glade 33430
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Belle Glade FL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Belle Glade dental practice and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Florida dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Belle Glade dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once 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 Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Florida junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 Belle Glade area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Belle Glade home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Belle Glade area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Florida programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best 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 college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Belle Glade area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, 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 make sure that the 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 earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Belle Glade area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Belle Glade area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Belle Glade 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Florida colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 33430 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Belle Glade in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Belle Glade FLPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous 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 receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.