How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Blaine 37709
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Blaine TN is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting 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 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Blaine dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Tennessee dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Blaine dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Tennessee community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Blaine area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Blaine home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Blaine area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Tennessee colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Blaine area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Blaine area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Blaine area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Blaine dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Tennessee schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 37709 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Blaine at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental College near Blaine TNChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.