How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Blair 73526
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Blair OK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges 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 offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Blair dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Oklahoma dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Oklahoma dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Blair dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, 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 an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Oklahoma community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Blair area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Blair home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Blair area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Oklahoma programs 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 right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Blair area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Blair area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Blair area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Blair dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Oklahoma schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses 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. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 73526 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting 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 will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Blair at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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 due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental Program near Blair OKEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend 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 in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.