How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Edgewater 32132
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Edgewater FL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Edgewater dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Florida dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Florida dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Edgewater dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Florida junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational 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 as well. Many programs also offer internships with Edgewater area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Edgewater home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Edgewater area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Florida programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Edgewater area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Edgewater area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Edgewater area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Edgewater dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Florida programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness 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 amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 32132 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Edgewater in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Edgewater FLEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.