How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Bixby 74008
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Bixby OK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Bixby dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Oklahoma dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing 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 licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Bixby dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Oklahoma practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Oklahoma community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Bixby area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bixby home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Bixby area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Oklahoma schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, 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. Bixby area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select offers the program that you want. 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 Bixby area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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 right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Bixby area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Bixby dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Oklahoma schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 74008 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Bixby at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Bixby OKSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered 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 training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 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 go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.