How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Orlando 73073
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Orlando OK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Orlando dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Oklahoma dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Oklahoma dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Orlando dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Oklahoma practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out 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
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Oklahoma junior colleges along with technical 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 furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Orlando area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% 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 comfort of your Orlando home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Orlando area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Oklahoma colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Orlando area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on has 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 Orlando area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Orlando area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Orlando dental practice. They make it easier for 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Oklahoma programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based 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 private or public also come into play. But along with 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 73073 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Orlando at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Orlando OKSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period 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 obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.