How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Rice Lake 54868
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Rice Lake WI is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Rice Lake dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Wisconsin dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Rice Lake dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Wisconsin community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Rice Lake area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Rice Lake home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Rice Lake area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Wisconsin programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Rice Lake area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Rice Lake area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Rice Lake area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Rice Lake dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Wisconsin schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of 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 vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 54868 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify 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 must attend classes near Rice Lake in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Rice Lake WISelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two 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 decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.