How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Saint Cloud 53079
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Saint Cloud WI is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Saint Cloud dental office and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Wisconsin dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Saint Cloud dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Wisconsin community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Saint Cloud area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Saint Cloud home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may 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 decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Saint Cloud area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Wisconsin schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Saint Cloud area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Saint Cloud 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 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Saint Cloud area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Saint Cloud dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Wisconsin programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent 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 have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 53079 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Saint Cloud in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental School near Saint Cloud WIPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.