Find Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Lecanto FL 34460

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Lecanto 34460

dental assistant training in Lecanto FLChoosing the right dental hygienist training near Lecanto FL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving 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 one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually 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 expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Lecanto dental assistant helping dentist 34460Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Lecanto dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Florida dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Lecanto dental hygienist treating patient in FloridaWhen contrasting the job of a Lecanto dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

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

To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered 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 available at Florida junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Lecanto area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Lecanto homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Lecanto home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Florida dental colleges 34460After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Lecanto area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Florida schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lecanto area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Lecanto area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 best college for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Lecanto area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Lecanto 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 also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Ask the Florida colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 34460 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Lecanto at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Pick the Ideal Dental School near Lecanto FL

Choosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend 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 ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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