How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Obion 38240
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Obion TN is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Obion dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Tennessee dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- 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
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Obion dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering 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 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Tennessee community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Obion area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Obion home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Obion area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Tennessee schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Obion area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt 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 choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Obion area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 could 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 ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Obion area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Obion dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Tennessee colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 38240 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Obion in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Obion TNEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally 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 usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.