How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Forest Park 30297
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Forest Park GA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should 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 Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Forest Park dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Forest Park dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Georgia community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Forest Park area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Forest Park home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. 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 necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Forest Park area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Georgia colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Forest Park area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Forest Park area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Forest Park 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 school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check 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 programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Forest Park dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Georgia programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 30297 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Forest Park at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Forest Park GAChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.