How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Birchwood 37308
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Birchwood TN is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including 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 money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Birchwood dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Tennessee dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Birchwood dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Tennessee community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Birchwood area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Birchwood home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Birchwood area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Tennessee programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Birchwood area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Birchwood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and 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 might 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 ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Birchwood area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Birchwood 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Tennessee colleges you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college 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 Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 37308 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Birchwood at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental Program near Birchwood TNPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.