How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Winter Park 32789
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Winter Park FL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Winter Park dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Florida dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Florida dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Winter Park dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Florida practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Florida junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Winter Park area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Winter Park home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced 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 needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Winter Park area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Florida colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. 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 examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Winter Park area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Winter Park area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Winter Park area dental colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Winter Park dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Florida colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 32789 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Winter Park at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Dental School near Winter Park FLEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.