How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Waynoka 73860
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Waynoka OK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Waynoka dental office and can perform a wide range 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 operating successfully. Some Oklahoma dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Oklahoma dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Waynoka dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Oklahoma practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 exams. Once 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 and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Oklahoma community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Waynoka area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Waynoka home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Waynoka area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Oklahoma schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Waynoka area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Waynoka 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 school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Waynoka area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose 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 looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Waynoka 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges 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 Oklahoma programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools 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 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. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 73860 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Waynoka at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental Program near Waynoka OKChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.