Top Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Pocono Summit PA 18346

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Pocono Summit 18346

dental assistant training in Pocono Summit PASelecting the ideal dental assistant program near Pocono Summit PA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the program’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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Pocono Summit dental assistant helping dentist 18346Dental assistants are an integral part of any Pocono Summit dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Dental Hygienists

Pocono Summit dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the role of a Pocono Summit dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 licensure exams. 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to have 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 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 Pocono Summit area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Pocono Summit homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes 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 comfort of your Pocono Summit home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 18346After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Pocono Summit area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pocono Summit area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Pocono Summit area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Pocono Summit area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Pocono Summit dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Check with the Pennsylvania schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, 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 significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 18346 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Pocono Summit at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Select the Best Dental College near Pocono Summit PA

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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