How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Bel Air 21014
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Bel Air MD is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Bel Air dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Maryland dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Maryland dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Bel Air dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maryland practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Maryland junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Bel Air area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Bel Air home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Bel Air area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Maryland programs you are reviewing in order to reach 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 school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bel Air area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Bel Air area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Bel Air area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides 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, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Bel Air dental practice. They make it easier for 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 Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Maryland colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 21014 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Bel Air at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental College near Bel Air MDSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools 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 normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.