How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Benton 72015
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Benton AR is an important initial 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 selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Benton dental practice and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Arkansas dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Benton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Arkansas practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing 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 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 examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arkansas community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Benton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Benton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically 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 appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Benton area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Arkansas programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Benton area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Benton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Benton area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides 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, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Benton 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Arkansas programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, 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 significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 72015 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Benton at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Benton ARSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.