How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Shelbyville 46176
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Shelbyville IN is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually 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 cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Shelbyville dental practice and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Indiana dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Indiana dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Shelbyville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Indiana practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Indiana community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Shelbyville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the program 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 personal computer in the convenience of your Shelbyville home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like 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 clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Shelbyville area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Indiana 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 evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Shelbyville area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Shelbyville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Shelbyville area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Shelbyville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Indiana schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 46176 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Shelbyville 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental Program near Shelbyville INEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect 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 as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.