How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Greenwood Springs 38848
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Greenwood Springs MS is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Greenwood Springs dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Mississippi dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Mississippi dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Greenwood Springs dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Mississippi practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Mississippi junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared 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 2 to as long as 3 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 interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Greenwood Springs area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely 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 comfort of your Greenwood Springs home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened 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 required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Greenwood Springs area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Mississippi programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Greenwood Springs area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Greenwood Springs area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 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 best school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Greenwood Springs area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Greenwood Springs dental practice. They make it easier for 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 Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Mississippi programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger 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 leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 38848 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Greenwood Springs at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Greenwood Springs MSEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.