How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Fox Valley 60597
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Fox Valley IL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, 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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, 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 cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Fox Valley dental practice and can perform a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Illinois dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Fox Valley dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Illinois practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After 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 and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Illinois community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Fox Valley area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally 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 comfort of your Fox Valley home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Fox Valley area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Illinois 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 right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. 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 examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fox Valley area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Fox Valley area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 strong 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, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Fox Valley area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides adequate 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, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Fox Valley 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 Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Illinois programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 60597 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Fox Valley in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Fox Valley ILEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.