Top Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Halifax PA 17032

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Halifax 17032

dental assistant training in Halifax PASelecting the right dental assistant college near Halifax PA is an important first step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Halifax dental assistant helping dentist 17032Dental assistants are an integral part of any Halifax dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s mandates. 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Halifax dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the duties of a Halifax dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered 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 provided at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Halifax area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Halifax homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Halifax home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 17032When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Halifax area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Pennsylvania programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Halifax area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Halifax area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Halifax area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough 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, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Halifax dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Pennsylvania schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 17032 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Halifax in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Halifax PA

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking 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.

 

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