How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Albany 05820
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Albany VT is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, 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 cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Albany dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Vermont dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Vermont dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Albany dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably 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 assisting the Vermont practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Vermont community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive 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 dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Albany area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally 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 Albany home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Albany area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Vermont colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Albany area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Albany area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Albany area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Albany dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Vermont programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness 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 fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance 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 significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 05820 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Albany at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Best Dental College near Albany VTChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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 hygienist or assistant.