How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Fountain City 47341
Picking the right dental assistant college near Fountain City IN is an important first step toward beginning 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 doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Fountain City dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Indiana dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Indiana dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Fountain City dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Indiana practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. 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 duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- 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 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 regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Indiana junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one 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 classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Fountain City area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fountain City home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Fountain City area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Indiana colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fountain City area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Fountain City area dental practices 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 an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Fountain City area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Fountain City dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Indiana schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 47341 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Fountain City in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental Program near Fountain City INEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.