How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Blairstown 52209
Picking the right dental assistant training near Blairstown IA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Blairstown dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Iowa dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Iowa dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Blairstown dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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 supporting the Iowa practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Iowa junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Blairstown area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Blairstown home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Blairstown area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Iowa colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Blairstown area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose 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, the majority of Blairstown area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Blairstown area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Blairstown dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs 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 profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Iowa schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 52209 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Blairstown in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dental School near Blairstown IAChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to 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 choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.