How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Rockland 04841
Picking the right dental assistant training near Rockland ME is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional 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 assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Rockland dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Maine dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing 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 deviate by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 contrasting the role of a Rockland dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Maine junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Rockland area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Rockland home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Rockland area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Maine colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, 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. Rockland area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Rockland area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep 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 school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Rockland area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Rockland 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Maine schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04841 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Rockland in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, 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 have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental College near Rockland MEPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, 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 assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.