How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Piney Woods 39148
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Piney Woods MS is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should 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 offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Piney Woods dental office and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Mississippi dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Mississippi dental board for your state’s policies. 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Piney Woods dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Mississippi 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 room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering 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 exams. After 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 Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Mississippi junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Piney Woods area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Piney Woods home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Piney Woods area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Mississippi schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Piney Woods area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Piney Woods area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Piney Woods area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Piney Woods dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching 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 in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Mississippi programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can 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 most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 39148 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Piney Woods at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required 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.
Choose the Best Dental College near Piney Woods MSSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.