Find Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Watkinsville GA 30677

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Watkinsville 30677

dental assistant training in Watkinsville GAPicking the right dental assistant training near Watkinsville GA is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much 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 home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Watkinsville dental assistant helping dentist 30677Dental assistants are an important component of any Watkinsville dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Georgia dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping 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 Georgia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 a Dental Hygienist

Watkinsville dental hygienist treating patient in GeorgiaWhen contrasting the job of a Watkinsville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Georgia junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Watkinsville area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Watkinsville homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Watkinsville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the best choice for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Georgia dental colleges 30677When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Watkinsville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Georgia colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Watkinsville area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose 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 have a career as a hygienist, many Watkinsville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Watkinsville area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Watkinsville 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 look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Georgia schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, 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 significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses 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 include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 30677 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Watkinsville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose 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 have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Select the Ideal Dental College near Watkinsville GA

Choosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally 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 usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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