How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Church Point 70525
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Church Point LA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Church Point dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Louisiana dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Church Point dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Louisiana practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Louisiana junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Church Point area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Church Point home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Church Point area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Louisiana schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Church Point area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on offers 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 Church Point area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and 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, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Church Point area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Church Point dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching 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 profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Louisiana programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are 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 leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 70525 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Church Point in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental School near Church Point LAChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered 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 education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.