How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Whitfield 39193
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Whitfield MS is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Whitfield dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Mississippi dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Mississippi dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Whitfield dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Mississippi practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 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 Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Mississippi community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Whitfield area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Whitfield home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Whitfield area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Mississippi colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Whitfield area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Whitfield area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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 right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Whitfield area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Whitfield dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Mississippi colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 39193 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Whitfield at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Whitfield MSChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning 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 addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.