How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Horseshoe Beach 32648
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Horseshoe Beach FL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Horseshoe Beach dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Florida dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Horseshoe Beach dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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 Florida practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Florida junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Horseshoe Beach area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Horseshoe Beach home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Horseshoe Beach area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Florida schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Horseshoe Beach area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose offers 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 Horseshoe Beach area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Horseshoe Beach area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Horseshoe Beach dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Florida schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 32648 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm 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 attend classes near Horseshoe Beach at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Horseshoe Beach FLEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.