Accredited Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Stetson ME 04488

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Stetson 04488

dental assistant training in Stetson MEPicking the ideal dental hygienist school near Stetson ME is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze 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 program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two 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 invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools 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 available.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Stetson dental assistant helping dentist 04488Dental assistants are an important component of any Stetson dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Maine dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Maine 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 decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Stetson dental hygienist treating patient in MaineWhen contrasting the role of a Stetson dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine 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 each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

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

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Maine community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Stetson area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Stetson homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Stetson home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the best choice for you.

Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Maine dental colleges 04488After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Stetson area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Maine schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, 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 pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Stetson area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? 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’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Stetson area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Stetson area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Stetson 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 look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Maine programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04488 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Stetson in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Dental Program near Stetson ME

Choosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives 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 training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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