How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Salem 32356
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Salem FL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Salem dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Florida dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Florida dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Salem dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Florida practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Florida community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Salem area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Salem home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Salem area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Florida colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Salem area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Salem area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Salem area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers enough 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, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Salem 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Florida programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 32356 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Salem in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental Program near Salem FLChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically 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 typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.