How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Farmingdale 04344
Picking the right dental assistant program near Farmingdale ME is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the program’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 depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Farmingdale dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing 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 regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 job of a Farmingdale dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, 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 frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Maine junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Farmingdale area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Farmingdale home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Farmingdale area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Maine colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Farmingdale area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Farmingdale area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Farmingdale area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Farmingdale dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Maine programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04344 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Farmingdale at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental School near Farmingdale MEEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.