How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Windham 04062
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Windham ME is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Windham dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. 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. Many Maine dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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 job of a Windham dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may 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 hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Maine community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional 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 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 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 as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Windham area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Windham home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Windham area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Maine schools you are comparing in order to reach 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 ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program 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. Windham area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose 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 have a career as a hygienist, many Windham area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely 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 portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Windham area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Windham dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Maine colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment 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 feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04062 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Windham at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental Program near Windham MEPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.