How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Preston 52069
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Preston IA is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Preston dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Iowa dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Iowa dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Preston dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Iowa practice, deal 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 every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings 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 hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Iowa community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Preston area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Preston home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Preston area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Iowa colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Preston area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on 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, many Preston area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Preston area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose 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, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Preston dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Check 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Iowa colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 52069 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Preston at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Dental Program near Preston IAChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.