How to Select a Dental Assistant Training Program near Winter Haven Florida
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Winter Haven FL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving 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 normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Winter Haven FL dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing 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 policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Winter Haven FL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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. 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 Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Florida junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Winter Haven FL dental practices are generally required to have 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Florida trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant program can be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Winter Haven FL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Florida programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Winter Haven FL area schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Winter Haven FL often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Florida programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Florida college you decide on offers 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Winter Haven FL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Winter Haven FL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Winter Haven FL dental practice. They help 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 Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Winter Haven FL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Winter Haven FL area colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Winter Haven FL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Winter Haven FL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant School near Winter Haven FL
Selecting the right dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Winter Haven FL.
Tell Me About Winter Haven Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Winter Haven is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 33,874 at the 2010 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 estimates, the city had a population of 37,689, making it the second most populated city in Polk County. It is a principal city of the Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The Timucua and the Calusa were the earliest known inhabitants of the land that would become Winter Haven. Both of these groups were deeply impacted, by war and disease, from the Spanish conquest of Florida in the early 1500s. The Timucua were particularly affected by the expedition of Hernando de Soto. By the 19th century, both these groups no longer existed. During these expeditions, the Spanish explorers claimed the entire peninsula of Florida for the Spanish monarchy
In the 19th century, the Creek and the Seminole were known to live and hunt in this area. During the Seminole Wars, the Seminole leader, Chipco, and his followers were known to live in the Winter Haven area. Several small skirmishes during the war were fought in and around Winter Haven.
In 1819, after the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty, the United States gained control of Florida. The first American or European settlers in the area were encouraged to settle here by the Armed Occupation Act of 1842. This act was specifically created to increase the white population in the area as a way to weaken the Native Americans populations after the Second Seminole War. It created generous land grants and other incentives for settlers who were willing to defend themselves against the native populations, hence the name of the act.
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