How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Shellman 31786
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Shellman GA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving 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 generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Shellman dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing 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 differ by state, so check with the Georgia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Shellman dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Georgia community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade 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 as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Shellman area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Shellman home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Shellman area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Georgia programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Shellman area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Shellman area dental offices 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 excellent reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Shellman area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Shellman dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Georgia programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer 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 level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 31786 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant 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 Shellman at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Shellman GAChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect 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 better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.