How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Garden City 57236
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Garden City SD is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Garden City dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some South Dakota dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the South Dakota dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Garden City dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the South Dakota practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. 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 & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at South Dakota junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Garden City area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Garden City home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced 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 needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Garden City area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the South Dakota colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Garden City area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Garden City area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and 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 college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Garden City area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Garden City 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 Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the South Dakota schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 57236 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Garden City at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Garden City SDSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining 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 addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.