How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Fernwood 39635
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Fernwood MS is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Fernwood dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Mississippi dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Mississippi dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 comparing the job of a Fernwood dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Mississippi practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 licensing exams. Once 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 Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Mississippi community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Fernwood area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fernwood home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Fernwood area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Mississippi colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fernwood area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose 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 have a career as a hygienist, many Fernwood area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school 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 may 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 Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Fernwood area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Fernwood dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Mississippi schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 39635 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Fernwood at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Right Dental College near Fernwood MSEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.