Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Hermitage TN 37076

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Hermitage 37076

dental assistant training in Hermitage TNPicking the ideal dental hygienist training near Hermitage TN is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two 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 commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Hermitage dental assistant helping dentist 37076Dental assistants are an integral part of any Hermitage dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Tennessee dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • 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

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Hermitage dental hygienist treating patient in TennesseeWhen contrasting the role of a Hermitage dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 as well as any state licensing 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 Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Tennessee community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Hermitage area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Hermitage homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Hermitage home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right choice for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Tennessee dental colleges 37076When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Hermitage area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Tennessee programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hermitage area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college 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 work as a hygienist, many Hermitage area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Hermitage area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Hermitage dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Ask the Tennessee schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 37076 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Hermitage in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Pick the Ideal Dental College near Hermitage TN

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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