How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near New Salem 62357
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near New Salem IL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any New Salem dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Illinois dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Illinois dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a New Salem dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Illinois practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out 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 about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Illinois junior colleges as well as trade or vocational 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 furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with New Salem area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your New Salem home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing New Salem area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Illinois programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, 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. New Salem area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most New Salem area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of New Salem area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real New Salem dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Illinois colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 62357 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near New Salem in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have 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.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near New Salem ILEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.