Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Selkirk NY 12158

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Selkirk 12158

dental assistant training in Selkirk NYSelecting the ideal dental assistant college near Selkirk NY is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Selkirk dental assistant helping dentist 12158Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Selkirk dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of New York dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing 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 office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the New York dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Selkirk dental hygienist treating patient in New YorkWhen comparing the job of a Selkirk dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New York practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually 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 may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

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

In order to be licensed 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 Exam 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 and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at New York junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Selkirk area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Selkirk homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Selkirk home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask New York dental colleges 12158After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Selkirk area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New York colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid 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 requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Selkirk area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Selkirk area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Selkirk area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Selkirk 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 as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the New York programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 12158 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Selkirk at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Dental College near Selkirk NY

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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