How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Boston 31626
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Boston GA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the college’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 depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Boston dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Georgia dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Georgia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Boston dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Georgia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Georgia junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Boston area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Boston home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Boston area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Georgia colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Boston area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Boston area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Boston area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Boston dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Georgia schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer 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 in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 31626 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Boston in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental Program near Boston GASelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.