How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Toccoa 30577
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Toccoa GA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the college’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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Toccoa dental practice and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- 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 vary by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Toccoa dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Georgia community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Toccoa area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for receiving 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 remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Toccoa 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. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Toccoa area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Georgia schools you are comparing 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 ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Toccoa area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose has 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Toccoa area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Toccoa area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Toccoa dental practice. They make it easier for 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Georgia colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 30577 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in 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 getting your education and must go to classes near Toccoa in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental College near Toccoa GASelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools 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 roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.