How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Frankton 46044
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Frankton IN is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Frankton dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Indiana dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Indiana dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. 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 Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Frankton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Indiana practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Indiana community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Frankton area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Frankton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice 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 style of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Frankton 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 colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Indiana programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program 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. Frankton area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure 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 Frankton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Frankton area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Frankton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Indiana schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer 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 experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 46044 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Frankton at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental College near Frankton INChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.