How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Arlington Heights 02175
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Arlington Heights MA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Arlington Heights dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Massachusetts dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Arlington Heights dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Massachusetts practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Massachusetts junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally 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 vocational 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Arlington Heights area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Arlington Heights home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Arlington Heights area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Massachusetts colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school 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. Arlington Heights area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Arlington Heights area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Arlington Heights area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Arlington Heights 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Massachusetts programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 02175 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Arlington Heights at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental School near Arlington Heights MAEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.