How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Ardmore 38449
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Ardmore TN is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the college’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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Ardmore dental practice and can perform a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Tennessee dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Ardmore dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Tennessee junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive 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 usually required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Ardmore area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Ardmore home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Ardmore area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Tennessee programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Ardmore area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often 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 certain that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Ardmore area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Ardmore area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Ardmore dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Tennessee programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, 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 students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 38449 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Ardmore at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental College near Ardmore TNSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically 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 generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.