Accredited Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Shrewsbury NJ 07702

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Shrewsbury 07702

dental assistant training in Shrewsbury NJPicking the right dental hygienist program near Shrewsbury NJ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Shrewsbury dental assistant helping dentist 07702Dental assistants are an essential part of any Shrewsbury dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Shrewsbury dental hygienist treating patient in New JerseyWhen comparing the duties of a Shrewsbury dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at New Jersey community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Shrewsbury area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Shrewsbury homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Shrewsbury home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask New Jersey dental colleges 07702Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Shrewsbury area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the New Jersey programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Shrewsbury area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered 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 confirm 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. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Shrewsbury area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced 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 could 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 right school for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Shrewsbury area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Shrewsbury dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Find out from the New Jersey schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 07702 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Shrewsbury in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find the Ideal Dental Program near Shrewsbury NJ

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important 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 options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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