How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Pocahontas 38061
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Pocahontas TN is an important first step toward beginning 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete 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 complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Pocahontas dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Tennessee dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Pocahontas dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 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 completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Tennessee community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Pocahontas area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Pocahontas home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Pocahontas area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Tennessee programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pocahontas area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Pocahontas area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 could 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 college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Pocahontas area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Pocahontas dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Tennessee schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 38061 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Pocahontas at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Pocahontas TNChoosing 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 several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing 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 appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.