How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Bordelonville 71320
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Bordelonville LA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Bordelonville dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Louisiana dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Bordelonville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Louisiana practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one 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 results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. 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 Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Louisiana junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Bordelonville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Bordelonville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Bordelonville area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Louisiana programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bordelonville area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Bordelonville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if 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 strong 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 right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Bordelonville area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently 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 a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Bordelonville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Louisiana colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 71320 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Bordelonville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Dental School near Bordelonville LAChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community 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 just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.