How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Newark 63458
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Newark MO is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the college’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 depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Newark dental practice and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Missouri dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Missouri dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Newark dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Missouri practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Missouri community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Newark area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Newark home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Newark area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly 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 ask of the Missouri programs you are reviewing 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 college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Newark area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has 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. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Newark 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 college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Newark area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Newark 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Missouri schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 63458 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Newark in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Newark MOEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing 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 hygienist or assistant.