How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Big Lake 55309
Picking the right dental assistant college near Big Lake MN is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Big Lake dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Minnesota dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Minnesota dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Big Lake dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Minnesota practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Minnesota junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive 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 offices are usually required to have 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Big Lake area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Big Lake home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Big Lake area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Minnesota colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Big Lake 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, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, 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 earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Big Lake 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 college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Big Lake area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Big Lake dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Minnesota programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 55309 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Big Lake in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near Big Lake MNChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential 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 obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.