How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near West Orange 07052
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near West Orange NJ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any West Orange dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- 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
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a West Orange 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 practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at New Jersey junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with West Orange area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your West Orange home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing West Orange area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. West Orange area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of West Orange area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of West Orange area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional West Orange 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 Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the New Jersey programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 07052 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near West Orange at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near West Orange NJPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.