How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Cumberland City 37050
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Cumberland City TN is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Cumberland City dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their principal 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 Tennessee dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Cumberland City dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Tennessee community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Cumberland City area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Cumberland City home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Cumberland City area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Tennessee programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cumberland City area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, 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 elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select has 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. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Cumberland City area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Cumberland City area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Cumberland City dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Tennessee colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 37050 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Cumberland City at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Cumberland City TNSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to 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 better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.