Top Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Odum GA 31555

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Odum 31555

dental assistant training in Odum GAChoosing the right dental assistant training near Odum GA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Odum dental assistant helping dentist 31555Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Odum dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Odum dental hygienist treating patient in GeorgiaWhen contrasting the duties of a Odum dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 Georgia community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Odum area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Odum homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Odum home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. 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 needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online program is the right option for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Georgia dental colleges 31555Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Odum area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Georgia colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Odum area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Odum area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear 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 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, clearly it would not be the best college for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Odum area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Odum dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Georgia programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 31555 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Odum in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Odum GA

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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