How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Portal 30450
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Portal GA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining 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 generally takes about 1 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 complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Portal dental office and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Georgia dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping 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 dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Georgia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Portal dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Georgia practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Georgia community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Portal area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Portal home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees 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 typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Portal area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Georgia programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Portal area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Portal area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Portal area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Portal dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Georgia schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 30450 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Portal in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required 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 responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Portal GASelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.