How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Pennsburg 18073
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Pennsburg PA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Pennsburg dental practice and can perform a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Pennsburg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 Pennsylvania junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Pennsburg area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Pennsburg home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Pennsburg area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania schools 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 final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pennsburg area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose has 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 work as a hygienist, the majority of Pennsburg area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Pennsburg area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Pennsburg 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school 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 Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 18073 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Pennsburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Pennsburg PAEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.