How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Trade 37691
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Trade TN is an important initial step toward starting 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 performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Trade dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Tennessee dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most 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) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Trade dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first 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 also may perform 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
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Tennessee community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Trade area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good alternative for receiving 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 available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Trade home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Trade area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Tennessee colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Trade area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Trade area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Trade area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Trade dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Tennessee programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 37691 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Trade 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 policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Trade TNChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.