How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Greenwich 06830
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Greenwich CT is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two 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 common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Greenwich dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Connecticut dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Greenwich dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Connecticut practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Connecticut community colleges in addition to vocational or technical 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 assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Greenwich area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Greenwich home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Greenwich area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Connecticut colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greenwich area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Greenwich area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep 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 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, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Greenwich area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Greenwich 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering 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 in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Connecticut colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount 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 besides 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 colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 06830 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Greenwich in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental College near Greenwich CTSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your education 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to 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 in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.