Accredited Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Lake Ozark MO 65049

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Lake Ozark 65049

dental assistant training in Lake Ozark MOSelecting the right dental hygienist program near Lake Ozark MO is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Lake Ozark dental assistant helping dentist 65049Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Lake Ozark dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Missouri dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Missouri dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Lake Ozark dental hygienist treating patient in MissouriWhen comparing the duties of a Lake Ozark dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably 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 supporting the Missouri practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Missouri junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Lake Ozark area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Lake Ozark homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lake Ozark home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.

What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Missouri dental colleges 65049Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Lake Ozark area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Missouri programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lake Ozark area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Lake Ozark 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 excellent reputation and 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Lake Ozark area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Lake Ozark dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Missouri colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 65049 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Lake Ozark in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Lake Ozark MO

Choosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive 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 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking 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.

 

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