How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Long Branch 07740
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Long Branch NJ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Long Branch dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling 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 processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Long Branch dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at New Jersey junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Long Branch area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Long Branch home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Long Branch area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the New Jersey schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Long Branch area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Long Branch area dental practices 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 an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Long Branch area dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Long Branch 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the New Jersey programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07740 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Long Branch at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Long Branch NJChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.