How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Glen Ridge 07028
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Glen Ridge NJ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Glen Ridge dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Glen Ridge dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at New Jersey community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. 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 two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Glen Ridge area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glen Ridge home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Glen Ridge area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several 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 almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school 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. Glen Ridge area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Glen Ridge area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Glen Ridge area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Glen Ridge 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the New Jersey schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07028 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Glen Ridge 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 emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental College near Glen Ridge NJSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.