How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Flagler Beach 32136
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Flagler Beach FL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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 common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Flagler Beach dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Florida dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Flagler Beach dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 supporting the Florida practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Florida junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily 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 classes. Because of the added 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 take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Flagler Beach area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Flagler Beach home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Flagler Beach area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Florida programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Flagler Beach area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires 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 colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Flagler Beach area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Flagler Beach area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide 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 type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Flagler Beach dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Florida programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 32136 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Flagler Beach in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental College near Flagler Beach FLEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually 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 normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter 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 decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.