How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Estero 33928
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Estero FL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Estero dental office and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Florida dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- 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 differ by state, so check with the Florida dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Estero dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Florida junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Estero area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Estero home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive 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 choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Estero area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Florida 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 evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Estero area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Estero area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Estero area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Estero dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Florida colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 33928 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Estero at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental Program near Estero FLEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.