Search For Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Sandy Ridge PA 16677

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Sandy Ridge 16677

dental assistant training in Sandy Ridge PAChoosing the right dental hygienist program near Sandy Ridge PA is an essential initial 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 college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Sandy Ridge dental assistant helping dentist 16677Dental assistants are an integral part of any Sandy Ridge dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist

Sandy Ridge dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the job of a Sandy Ridge dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work 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. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Pennsylvania community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Sandy Ridge area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Sandy Ridge homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Sandy Ridge home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 16677Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Sandy Ridge area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Pennsylvania programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid 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 almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Sandy Ridge area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school 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. In order to work as a hygienist, many Sandy Ridge area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Sandy Ridge area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in 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 looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sandy Ridge dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant 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. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be 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 most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 16677 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Sandy Ridge at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Dental College near Sandy Ridge PA

Picking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented 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.

 

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