Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Moore Haven FL 33471

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Moore Haven 33471

dental assistant training in Moore Haven FLPicking the right dental assistant school near Moore Haven FL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the school’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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Moore Haven dental assistant helping dentist 33471Dental assistants are an important part of any Moore Haven dental practice and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Florida dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate 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 licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Moore Haven dental hygienist treating patient in FloridaWhen contrasting the job of a Moore Haven dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are available at Florida junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Moore Haven area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Moore Haven homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Moore Haven home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for 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 required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Florida dental colleges 33471After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Moore Haven area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Florida schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Moore Haven area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Moore Haven area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Moore Haven area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Moore Haven dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Florida schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, 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 degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 33471 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Moore Haven in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Find the Best Dental College near Moore Haven FL

Picking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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