How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near New Kingstown 17072
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near New Kingstown PA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any New Kingstown dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a New Kingstown dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Pennsylvania community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased 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 require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with New Kingstown area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind 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 available via your personal computer in the comfort of your New Kingstown home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing New Kingstown area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Pennsylvania schools you are comparing in order to make 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 school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. New Kingstown area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most New Kingstown area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and 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, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most New Kingstown area dental programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional New Kingstown dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Pennsylvania colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 17072 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify 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 have to go to classes near New Kingstown in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental Program near New Kingstown PAChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.