Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near North Lawrence NY 12967

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near North Lawrence 12967

dental assistant training in North Lawrence NYSelecting the ideal dental assistant school near North Lawrence NY is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the school’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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

North Lawrence dental assistant helping dentist 12967Dental assistants are an essential component of any North Lawrence dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many New York dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the New York dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

North Lawrence dental hygienist treating patient in New YorkWhen contrasting the role of a North Lawrence dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New York practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam 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 Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at New York community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually 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 in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with North Lawrence area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in North Lawrence homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your North Lawrence home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask New York dental colleges 12967When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing North Lawrence area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the New York colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. North Lawrence area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many North Lawrence area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most North Lawrence area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real North Lawrence dental practice. They make it easier for 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 too.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Check with the New York colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 12967 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near North Lawrence in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Pick the Best Dental Program near North Lawrence NY

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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