How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Bellona 14415
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Bellona NY is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Bellona dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some New York dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the New York dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Bellona dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New York practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at New York community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Bellona area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Bellona home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Bellona area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the New York colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bellona area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Bellona area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Bellona area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Bellona dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at 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 in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the New York schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 14415 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Bellona in the evenings 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 policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Bellona NYPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive 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 about 2 years of studies prior to entering 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 training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.