How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Thorofare 08086
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Thorofare NJ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine 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 program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Thorofare dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some New Jersey dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check 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 elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Thorofare dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual 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 report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at New Jersey junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Thorofare area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Thorofare home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually 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 appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Thorofare area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Thorofare area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Thorofare area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Thorofare area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Thorofare dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting 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 higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the New Jersey programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 08086 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Thorofare in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Thorofare NJPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.