How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Pitsburg 45358
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Pitsburg OH is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Pitsburg dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Ohio dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Ohio dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Pitsburg dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Ohio practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Ohio community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Pitsburg area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Pitsburg home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. 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 required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Pitsburg area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Ohio programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pitsburg area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school 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 have a career as a hygienist, many Pitsburg area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Pitsburg area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Pitsburg dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges 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 community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Ohio colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 45358 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure 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 have to attend classes near Pitsburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Pitsburg OHPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your training 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.