How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Mitchellville 50169
Picking the right dental assistant program near Mitchellville IA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze 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 school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally 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 talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to 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 provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Mitchellville dental office and can carry out 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 working successfully. Many Iowa dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping 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 Iowa dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 contrasting the role of a Mitchellville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Iowa practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Iowa junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Mitchellville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Mitchellville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Mitchellville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Iowa colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Mitchellville area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has 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, a large number of Mitchellville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Mitchellville area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Mitchellville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher 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 Classes Small? Check with the Iowa schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 50169 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Mitchellville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Best Dental School near Mitchellville IASelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.