How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Winterville 30683
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Winterville GA is an important first step toward launching 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 choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the college’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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Winterville dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Georgia dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Georgia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Winterville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 provided at Georgia junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Winterville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Winterville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs 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 performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Winterville area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Georgia schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Winterville area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Winterville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 may 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 college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Winterville area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Winterville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Georgia schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 examining the cost of programs, 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 offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 30683 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Winterville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental School near Winterville GAPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered 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 generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.