Find Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Clinton OK 73601

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Clinton 73601

dental assistant training in Clinton OKChoosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Clinton OK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Clinton dental assistant helping dentist 73601Dental assistants are an important component of any Clinton dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Oklahoma dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Oklahoma dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Clinton dental hygienist treating patient in OklahomaWhen comparing the job of a Clinton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Oklahoma practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Oklahoma community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 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. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Clinton area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Clinton homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable 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 available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Clinton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best option for you.

Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Oklahoma dental colleges 73601When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Clinton area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Oklahoma colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Clinton area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Clinton area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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 Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Clinton area dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Clinton dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask 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 community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Oklahoma programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 73601 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Clinton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 because of illness, work or family issues.

Select the Right Dental College near Clinton OK

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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