How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Hollywood 33019
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Hollywood FL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Hollywood dental office and can perform 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 running successfully. A number of Florida dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Florida dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Hollywood dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Florida practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding 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 licensure exams. 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Florida junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical 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 comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Hollywood area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Hollywood home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Hollywood area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Florida colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hollywood area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Hollywood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Hollywood area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hollywood dental practice. They help 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Florida schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 33019 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Hollywood in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental School near Hollywood FLChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally 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 normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.