Accredited Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Neptune Beach FL 32266

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Neptune Beach 32266

dental assistant training in Neptune Beach FLSelecting the right dental hygienist college near Neptune Beach FL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Neptune Beach dental assistant helping dentist 32266Dental assistants are an essential part of any Neptune Beach dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Florida dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Neptune Beach dental hygienist treating patient in FloridaWhen contrasting the duties of a Neptune Beach 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 supporting the Florida practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each 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 about oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Florida community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Neptune Beach area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Neptune Beach homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Neptune Beach home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice 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 learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Florida dental colleges 32266After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Neptune Beach area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Florida schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Neptune Beach area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Neptune Beach area dental practices 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 all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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 Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Neptune Beach area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Neptune Beach dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Small? Check with the Florida programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 32266 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Neptune Beach in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find the Right Dental School near Neptune Beach FL

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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