How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Jamestown 16134
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Jamestown PA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually 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 expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools 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 offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Jamestown dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Jamestown dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once 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 & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Pennsylvania junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Jamestown area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Jamestown home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Jamestown area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search 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 Pennsylvania schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included 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 many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jamestown area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. 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, most Jamestown area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Jamestown area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program 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 schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Jamestown dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Pennsylvania programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide 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 experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 16134 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Jamestown in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Dental School near Jamestown PAChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 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 training or credential you choose 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.