How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Orange Lake 32681
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist training near Orange Lake FL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Orange Lake dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Florida dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Orange Lake dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Florida community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Orange Lake area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Orange Lake home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Orange Lake area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Florida colleges you are looking at 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 ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Orange Lake area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Orange Lake area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Orange Lake area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Orange Lake dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Florida schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 32681 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Orange Lake in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select 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 have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Orange Lake FLSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.