Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near North Palm Beach FL 33408

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near North Palm Beach 33408

dental assistant training in North Palm Beach FLChoosing the right dental assistant college near North Palm Beach FL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Job of Dental Assistants

North Palm Beach dental assistant helping dentist 33408Dental assistants are an important part of any North Palm Beach dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Florida dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Florida dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist

North Palm Beach dental hygienist treating patient in FloridaWhen comparing the duties of a North Palm Beach dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Florida practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are available at Florida community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with North Palm Beach area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in North Palm Beach homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your North Palm Beach home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community 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 discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Florida dental colleges 33408Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing North Palm Beach area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Florida schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. North Palm Beach area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure 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 work as a hygienist, the majority of North Palm Beach area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 ideal school for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most North Palm Beach area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional North Palm Beach dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Find out from the Florida colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 33408 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near North Palm Beach at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Pick the Best Dental Program near North Palm Beach FL

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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