How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Ames 73718
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Ames OK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Ames dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Oklahoma dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Oklahoma dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 role of a Ames dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Oklahoma practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Oklahoma community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Ames area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Ames home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Ames area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Oklahoma schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Ames area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Ames 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 school has a good 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 might 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 school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Ames area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough 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 choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Ames 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Oklahoma schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor 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 enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 73718 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Ames 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Dental Program near Ames OKChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.