How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near New Smyrna Beach 32168
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near New Smyrna Beach FL is an essential initial step toward launching 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 selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the school’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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally 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 explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any New Smyrna Beach dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Florida dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing 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 vary by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a New Smyrna Beach dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Florida junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with New Smyrna Beach area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your New Smyrna Beach home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing New Smyrna Beach area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Florida programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New Smyrna Beach area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available 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 certain that the school you choose offers 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, many New Smyrna Beach area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most New Smyrna Beach area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in 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, make sure that the college you choose 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 most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional New Smyrna Beach dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Florida schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 32168 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near New Smyrna Beach in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental Program near New Smyrna Beach FLChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 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 education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.