How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Waverly 33877
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Waverly FL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months 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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Waverly dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Florida dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 differ by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 contrasting the duties of a Waverly dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- 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 examinations. When they have fulfilled 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 Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Florida junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Waverly area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Waverly home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Waverly area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Florida colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order 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. Waverly area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Waverly area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, 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 could 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 right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Waverly area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides 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, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Waverly dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Florida programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 33877 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Waverly in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental School near Waverly FLPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered 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 education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.