How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Aliquippa 15001
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Aliquippa PA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing 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 Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Aliquippa dental office and can perform a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Aliquippa dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Pennsylvania community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 almost 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 also. Many programs also offer internships with Aliquippa area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Aliquippa home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Aliquippa area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many 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 condition in almost 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Aliquippa area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select offers the program that you want. 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, the majority of Aliquippa area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 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 ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Aliquippa area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide 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 subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Aliquippa dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Pennsylvania programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one 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 amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 15001 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Aliquippa at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Aliquippa PAChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.