How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Belle Rive 62810
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Belle Rive IL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Belle Rive dental office and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Illinois dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Belle Rive dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Illinois practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Illinois community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Belle Rive area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Belle Rive home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Belle Rive area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Illinois colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist 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 select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Belle Rive area employers often 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 obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Belle Rive area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Belle Rive area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Belle Rive dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Illinois programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 62810 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Belle Rive in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical 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.
Select the Best Dental Program near Belle Rive ILSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.