How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near La Fayette 61449
Picking the right dental assistant college near La Fayette IL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually 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 explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any La Fayette dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Illinois dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a La Fayette dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Illinois practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Illinois community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with La Fayette area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your La Fayette home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing La Fayette area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Illinois schools 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. La Fayette area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school 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. If you want to work as a hygienist, many La Fayette area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 may 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 right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of La Fayette area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional La Fayette dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Illinois schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 61449 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near La Fayette in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental School near La Fayette ILSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.