How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Patuxent River 20670
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Patuxent River MD is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues 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 getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs 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 offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Patuxent River dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Maryland dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Maryland dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect 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 contrasting the job of a Patuxent River dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maryland practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Maryland junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional 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 take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Patuxent River area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Patuxent River home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Patuxent River area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Maryland programs you are comparing 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 ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Patuxent River area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Patuxent River 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 a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Patuxent River area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides enough 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, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Patuxent River 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Maryland colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 20670 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Patuxent River in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental College near Patuxent River MDEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.