How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Saint Elizabeth 65075
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Saint Elizabeth MO is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing 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 program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore 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 roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Saint Elizabeth dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Missouri dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Missouri dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Saint Elizabeth dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Missouri practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial 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 may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Missouri community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Saint Elizabeth area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Saint Elizabeth home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Saint Elizabeth area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Missouri colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Saint Elizabeth area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Saint Elizabeth area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. 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 college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Saint Elizabeth area dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Saint Elizabeth 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Missouri schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 65075 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Saint Elizabeth in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Saint Elizabeth MOChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish 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 acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.