How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Mount Airy 70076
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Mount Airy LA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 typical dental assistant program usually 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Mount Airy dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Louisiana dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 comparing the job of a Mount Airy dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Louisiana practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- 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 must also 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 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 Louisiana junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a 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 assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have 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 virtually 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Mount Airy area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Mount Airy home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often 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 dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Mount Airy area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Louisiana programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Mount Airy area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Mount Airy area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear 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 college may have a strong 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 ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Mount Airy area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient 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 a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Mount Airy dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Louisiana schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 70076 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Mount Airy at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near Mount Airy LAEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.