How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Ellabell 31308
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Ellabell GA is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Ellabell dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Georgia dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Georgia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Ellabell dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently 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 also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing exams. After they have fulfilled 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 programs are offered at Georgia community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Ellabell area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Ellabell home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Ellabell area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Georgia programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Ellabell area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered 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 make sure that the college you select 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, a large number of Ellabell area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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 school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Ellabell area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose 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 an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Ellabell dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs 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 community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Georgia schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 31308 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Ellabell in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Ellabell GAEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.