How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Howard 31039
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Howard GA is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Howard dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Georgia dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Howard dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Georgia junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Howard area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Howard home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Howard area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Georgia colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Howard area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Howard area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Howard area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Howard dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Georgia programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 31039 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Howard at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Howard GAPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.