How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Middlebury 06762
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Middlebury CT is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Middlebury dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Connecticut dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing 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
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Middlebury dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Connecticut practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Connecticut junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Middlebury area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Middlebury home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Middlebury area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Connecticut schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation 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 school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, 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 guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Middlebury area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Middlebury area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Middlebury area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Middlebury 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 Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Connecticut colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 06762 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? 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 getting your education and have to attend classes near Middlebury at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental School near Middlebury CTPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.