How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Satellite Beach 32937
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Satellite Beach FL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate 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 college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining 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 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Satellite Beach dental practice and can perform a variety of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Florida dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving 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 differ by state, so check with the Florida dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Satellite Beach dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Florida junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Satellite Beach area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Satellite Beach home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Satellite Beach 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 colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Florida programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Satellite Beach area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Satellite Beach area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Satellite Beach area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Satellite Beach 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Florida schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 32937 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Satellite Beach at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near Satellite Beach FLSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.