How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Griffin 30223
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Griffin GA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Griffin dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Griffin dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia 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 room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Georgia junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in 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 Griffin area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Griffin home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Griffin area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Georgia schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Griffin area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose 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 alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Griffin area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Griffin area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Griffin dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Georgia programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 30223 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Griffin at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental School near Griffin GAPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.