Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Alba PA 16910

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Alba 16910

dental assistant training in Alba PAChoosing the right dental hygienist training near Alba PA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Alba dental assistant helping dentist 16910Dental assistants are an essential part of any Alba dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s mandates. 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

Alba dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the role of a Alba dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Alba area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Alba homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Alba home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 16910Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alba area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Alba area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. 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, the majority of Alba 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 college has a good reputation and 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 could 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 ideal school for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Alba area dental schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Alba dental practice. They make it easier for 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 as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require 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 high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Pennsylvania programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 16910 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Alba in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find the Ideal Dental School near Alba PA

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 several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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