How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Columbus 68601
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Columbus NE is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Columbus dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Nebraska dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Nebraska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Columbus dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest 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 Nebraska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. 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 programs are provided at Nebraska junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Columbus area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Columbus home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting 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 online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Columbus area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Nebraska programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college 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. Columbus area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, 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 Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Columbus area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Columbus area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Columbus dental practice. They help 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 Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Nebraska schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 68601 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Columbus in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical 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 issues.
Choose the Right Dental College near Columbus NEChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.