How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Columbia Falls 04623
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Columbia Falls ME is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Columbia Falls dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Maine dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Columbia Falls dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Maine junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Columbia Falls area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Columbia Falls home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Columbia Falls area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Maine programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Columbia Falls area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Columbia Falls area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Columbia Falls area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in 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, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Columbia Falls dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching 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 community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Maine colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04623 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Columbia Falls at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental College near Columbia Falls MEChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.