How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Woodward 73801
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Woodward OK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Woodward dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Oklahoma dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Oklahoma dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Woodward dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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 Oklahoma practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial 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 carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Oklahoma junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Woodward area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely 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 Woodward home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Woodward area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Oklahoma colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Woodward area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Woodward area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Woodward area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Woodward dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good 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 Smaller? Check with the Oklahoma colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount 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 in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 73801 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Woodward at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Woodward OKChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.