How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Prairie Grove 72753
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Prairie Grove AR is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Prairie Grove dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Arkansas dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Arkansas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Prairie Grove dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Arkansas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Arkansas community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating 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 normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Prairie Grove area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Prairie Grove home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Prairie Grove area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Arkansas programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Prairie Grove area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Prairie Grove area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Prairie Grove area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough 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, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Prairie Grove dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Arkansas colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 72753 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Prairie Grove at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical 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.
Select the Best Dental Program near Prairie Grove ARSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.