How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Ray City 31645
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Ray City GA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Ray City dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Ray City dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When 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 Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Georgia junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Ray City area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely 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 convenience of your Ray City home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Ray City area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Georgia schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Ray City area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Ray City area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Ray City area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Ray City dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Georgia programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 31645 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Ray City in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Ray City GAChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.