How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Chebeague Island 04017
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Chebeague Island ME is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Chebeague Island dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Maine dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Chebeague Island dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed 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 Maine community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Chebeague Island area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Chebeague Island home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Chebeague Island area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Maine programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chebeague Island area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Chebeague Island area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Chebeague Island area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Chebeague Island 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Maine colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04017 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Chebeague Island in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select 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 have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Dental School near Chebeague Island MESelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.