How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Montclair 07042
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Montclair NJ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Montclair dental practice and can perform a variety 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 operating successfully. Some New Jersey dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Montclair dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at New Jersey community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Montclair area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a viable option for getting 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 provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Montclair home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Montclair area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the New Jersey programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, 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 valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Montclair area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose 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, most Montclair area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Montclair area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select 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, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Montclair dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the New Jersey colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college 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 Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07042 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Montclair at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Montclair NJSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.