Find Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Fairfield ME 04937

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Fairfield 04937

dental assistant training in Fairfield MESelecting the right dental assistant college near Fairfield ME is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Fairfield dental assistant helping dentist 04937Dental assistants are an essential part of any Fairfield dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Fairfield dental hygienist treating patient in MaineWhen comparing the job of a Fairfield dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed in almost 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 as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Maine junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational 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. Many programs also offer internships with Fairfield area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Fairfield homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college may 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 practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fairfield home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the best option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Maine dental colleges 04937When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Fairfield area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Maine programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fairfield area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Fairfield area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if 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 solid 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, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Fairfield area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate 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, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Fairfield dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Small? Find out from the Maine schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04937 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Fairfield at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Select the Ideal Dental College near Fairfield ME

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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