How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Niagara Falls 14301
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Niagara Falls NY is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Niagara Falls dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many New York dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the New York dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Niagara Falls dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably 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 assisting the New York practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at New York junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 nearly 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 clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Niagara Falls area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Niagara Falls home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical 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 appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Niagara Falls area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the New York programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Niagara Falls area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose has the program that you want. 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, a large number of Niagara Falls area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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 best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Niagara Falls area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Niagara Falls dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the New York programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school 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 Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 14301 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Niagara Falls at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical 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.
Pick the Best Dental College near Niagara Falls NYChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community 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 practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend 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 choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.