How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Norristown 30447
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Norristown GA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically 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 cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Norristown dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Georgia dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Georgia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Norristown dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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 assisting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Georgia junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of 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 require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Norristown area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Norristown home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Norristown area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Georgia colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Norristown area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right 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 has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Norristown area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Norristown area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an 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 specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Norristown dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Georgia colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 30447 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Norristown in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental School near Norristown GAPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.