How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Canaan 47224
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Canaan IN is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Canaan dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Indiana dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Indiana dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need 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 a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Canaan dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Indiana practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed 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 courses are available at Indiana community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Canaan area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Canaan home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Canaan area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Indiana schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Canaan area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. 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 Canaan area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Canaan area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want 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 an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Canaan dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Indiana colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor 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 instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 47224 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Canaan at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Canaan INSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.