How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Murfreesboro 37127
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Murfreesboro TN is an important initial step toward starting 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 completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two 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 commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Murfreesboro dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Tennessee dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s mandates. 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Murfreesboro dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tennessee practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After 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 and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Tennessee junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Murfreesboro area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Murfreesboro home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Murfreesboro area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Tennessee colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Murfreesboro area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that you want. 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, a large number of Murfreesboro 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 as well as 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Murfreesboro area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Murfreesboro 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Tennessee programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 37127 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Murfreesboro at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental Program near Murfreesboro TNPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.