How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Salem 08079
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Salem NJ is an important initial step toward beginning 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 school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Salem dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of New Jersey dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Salem dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at New Jersey community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Salem area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Salem home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Salem area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Salem area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Salem area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Salem area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Salem dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the New Jersey programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 08079 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Salem in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Salem NJPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several 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 receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally 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 about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.