How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Freeport 56331
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Freeport MN is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including 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 time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Freeport dental practice and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Minnesota dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Minnesota dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Freeport dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Minnesota 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 each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Minnesota junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to have 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Freeport area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Freeport home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Freeport area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Minnesota schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Freeport area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Freeport area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep 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 solid 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 ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Freeport area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Freeport dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Minnesota programs you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 56331 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Freeport at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Freeport MNChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend 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 in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.