How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Roanoke 70581
Picking the right dental hygienist training near Roanoke LA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer 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 roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Roanoke dental practice and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Louisiana dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Roanoke dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Louisiana practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed 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 programs are available at Louisiana community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Roanoke area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Roanoke home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Roanoke area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Louisiana programs 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 right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Roanoke area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Roanoke area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Roanoke area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Roanoke dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Louisiana colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs 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 if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 70581 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Roanoke at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental School near Roanoke LAEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.