How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Lenox 31637
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Lenox GA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually 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 expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Lenox dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Georgia dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Georgia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Lenox dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Georgia junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Lenox area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lenox home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Lenox area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Georgia colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lenox area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select 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, a large number of Lenox area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Lenox area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Lenox dental practice. They help 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 Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Georgia schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 31637 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Lenox at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Lenox GAPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to 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 in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.