How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Perry 31069
Picking the right dental assistant school near Perry GA is an essential first step toward launching 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 completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically 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 cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Perry dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Georgia dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need 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 Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Perry dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Georgia community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often 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. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Perry area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Perry home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Perry area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Georgia colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Perry 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, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Perry area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Perry area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Perry dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs 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 position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Georgia schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one 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 witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 31069 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Perry in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental College near Perry GAChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.