How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Richland 31825
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Richland MS is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Richland dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Mississippi dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Mississippi dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Richland dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Mississippi practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Mississippi community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Richland area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Richland home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Richland area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Mississippi programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Richland area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose 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 work as a hygienist, many Richland area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear 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 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Richland area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Richland dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement 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 place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Mississippi programs you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical 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 significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 31825 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Richland at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental Program near Richland MSEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course 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 alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.