How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Greensburg 70441
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Greensburg LA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually 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 issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Greensburg dental practice and can undertake a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Louisiana dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 job of a Greensburg dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Louisiana practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Louisiana community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with Greensburg area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Greensburg home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Greensburg area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Louisiana programs 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 final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greensburg area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. 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, the majority of Greensburg 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 an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Greensburg area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Greensburg 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Louisiana programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 70441 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Greensburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Dental Program near Greensburg LASelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.