Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Lake Pleasant MA 01347

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Lake Pleasant 01347

dental assistant training in Lake Pleasant MAPicking the right dental hygienist school near Lake Pleasant MA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Lake Pleasant dental assistant helping dentist 01347Dental assistants are an important component of any Lake Pleasant dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Massachusetts dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Lake Pleasant dental hygienist treating patient in MassachusettsWhen contrasting the job of a Lake Pleasant dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 Massachusetts practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. 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 and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Massachusetts community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Lake Pleasant area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Lake Pleasant homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Lake Pleasant home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community 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 dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Massachusetts dental colleges 01347Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Lake Pleasant area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Massachusetts colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lake Pleasant area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Lake Pleasant area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good 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 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 best school for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Lake Pleasant area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers sufficient 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, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Lake Pleasant 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 as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Massachusetts colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school 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 Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 01347 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Lake Pleasant in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose 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 illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Lake Pleasant MA

Choosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of 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 acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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