How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Jacks Creek 38347
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Jacks Creek TN is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Jacks Creek dental practice and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Tennessee dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Jacks Creek dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each 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 duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once 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 & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Tennessee junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Jacks Creek area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely 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 comfort of your Jacks Creek home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Jacks Creek area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of 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 assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jacks Creek area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers 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 work as a hygienist, most Jacks Creek 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 a good 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Jacks Creek area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Jacks Creek dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create 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 assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Tennessee colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 38347 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Jacks Creek at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, 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 have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Jacks Creek TNPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.