Top Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Lyon Station PA 19536

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Lyon Station 19536

dental assistant training in Lyon Station PAChoosing the right dental hygienist training near Lyon Station PA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive 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 reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Lyon Station dental assistant helping dentist 19536Dental assistants are an essential component of any Lyon Station dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:

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

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Lyon Station dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the role of a Lyon Station dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably 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 supporting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees 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. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled 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 Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one 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 assisting courses. Due to 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 require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Lyon Station area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Lyon Station homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Lyon Station home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 19536When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Lyon Station area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Pennsylvania colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 right dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lyon Station area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Lyon Station area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Lyon Station area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Lyon Station dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Check with the Pennsylvania colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 19536 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Lyon Station at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Pick the Best Dental School near Lyon Station PA

Choosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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