How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Sevierville 37862
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Sevierville TN is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Sevierville dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Tennessee dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving 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 vary by state, so check with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Sevierville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Tennessee community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Sevierville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Sevierville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Sevierville area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Tennessee schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sevierville area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Sevierville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Sevierville area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Sevierville dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Tennessee schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 37862 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Sevierville at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Sevierville TNChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.