How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Scotch Plains 07076
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist training near Scotch Plains NJ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college’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 are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months 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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Scotch Plains dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some New Jersey dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Scotch Plains dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at New Jersey community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Scotch Plains area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Scotch Plains home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Scotch Plains area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Scotch Plains area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Scotch Plains area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Scotch Plains area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately 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 an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Scotch Plains dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the New Jersey colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07076 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Scotch Plains in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Scotch Plains NJChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.