How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Cross Plains 47017
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Cross Plains IN is an important initial 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 performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Cross Plains dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Indiana dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Indiana dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Cross Plains dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Indiana practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Indiana junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Cross Plains area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Cross Plains home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area 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 discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Cross Plains area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Indiana schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Cross Plains area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Cross Plains area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Cross Plains area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Cross Plains dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Indiana programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 47017 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Cross Plains at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental College near Cross Plains INSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.