Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Raritan NJ 08869

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Raritan 08869

dental assistant training in Raritan NJSelecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Raritan NJ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Raritan dental assistant helping dentist 08869Dental assistants are an essential component of any Raritan dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some New Jersey dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing 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 New Jersey dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Raritan dental hygienist treating patient in New JerseyWhen comparing the job of a Raritan dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at New Jersey community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Raritan area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Raritan homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Raritan home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask New Jersey dental colleges 08869Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Raritan area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Raritan 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, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? 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 enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Raritan area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, clearly it would not be the best college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Raritan area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Raritan dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the New Jersey colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to 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 08869 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Raritan at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Dental Program near Raritan NJ

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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