How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near New Franklin 65274
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near New Franklin MO is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college’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 time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any New Franklin dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Missouri dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Missouri dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a New Franklin dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Missouri practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Missouri community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with New Franklin area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your New Franklin home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing New Franklin area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Missouri colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New Franklin area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of New Franklin area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many New Franklin area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers 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, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional New Franklin dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Missouri schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 65274 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near New Franklin in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental Program near New Franklin MOEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period 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 schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.