How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Jacksonville 75766
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Jacksonville TX is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Jacksonville dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Texas dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Texas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Jacksonville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Texas 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 area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also 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
- Teaching patients regarding 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Texas junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Jacksonville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Jacksonville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Jacksonville area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Texas programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jacksonville area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has the program that’s right for you. 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 Jacksonville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if 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 school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Jacksonville area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide 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 want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Jacksonville 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Texas colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one 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 amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 75766 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Jacksonville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Jacksonville TXPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.