How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Wentzville 63385
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Wentzville MO is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Wentzville dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Missouri dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Missouri dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Wentzville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Missouri practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with 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 responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Missouri community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Wentzville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Wentzville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Wentzville area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Missouri programs you are reviewing 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 final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Wentzville area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Wentzville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Wentzville area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers adequate 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 choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Wentzville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges 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 refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Missouri schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are 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 so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost based 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 in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 63385 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Wentzville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Wentzville MOPicking the ideal 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 you now know, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.