How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near New Roads 70760
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near New Roads LA is an essential initial 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 much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any New Roads dental practice and can carry out a myriad 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 running successfully. Some Louisiana dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a New Roads dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of 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 first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Louisiana junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with New Roads area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your New Roads home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing New Roads area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Louisiana schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New Roads area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide 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 choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many New Roads area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. 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 school 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most New Roads 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 college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional New Roads dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Louisiana schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. 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 programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 70760 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near New Roads in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Right Dental College near New Roads LAPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two 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 mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.