How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Mason 54856
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Mason WI is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Mason dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Wisconsin dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Mason dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 available at Wisconsin junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Mason area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good option for receiving 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 rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Mason home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Mason area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Wisconsin 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 evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Mason area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Mason area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Mason area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Mason dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Wisconsin schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 54856 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Mason in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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.
Select the Best Dental School near Mason WIPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively 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 usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.