How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Wingate 47994
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Wingate IN is an essential 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 far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Wingate dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Indiana dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Indiana dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Wingate dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Indiana 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 each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Indiana community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Wingate area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Wingate home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Wingate area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of 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 may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Indiana programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Wingate area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on offers 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. In order to work as a hygienist, many Wingate area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Wingate area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Wingate dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Indiana schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 47994 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Wingate in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental School near Wingate INEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.