Find Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Sharpes FL 32959

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Sharpes 32959

dental assistant training in Sharpes FLPicking the right dental assistant college near Sharpes FL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. 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 talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Sharpes dental assistant helping dentist 32959Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Sharpes dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Florida dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • 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 handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Sharpes dental hygienist treating patient in FloridaWhen contrasting the duties of a Sharpes dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are available at Florida junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Sharpes area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Sharpes homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Sharpes home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.

What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Florida dental colleges 32959Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Sharpes area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Florida schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sharpes area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Sharpes area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Sharpes area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Sharpes dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Florida schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 32959 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Sharpes in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Choose the Ideal Dental School near Sharpes FL

Picking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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