Find Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Annville PA 17003

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Annville 17003

dental assistant training in Annville PAChoosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Annville PA is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the college’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 money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Annville dental assistant helping dentist 17003Dental assistants are an essential part of any Annville dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to give support 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 periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Providing 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 differ by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Annville dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the role of a Annville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Pennsylvania junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 finish 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Annville area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Annville homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Annville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.

Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 17003Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Annville area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Pennsylvania programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished 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 several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Annville area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Annville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Annville area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides 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, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Annville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Ask the Pennsylvania schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools 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 whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 17003 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Annville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find the Ideal Dental School near Annville PA

Picking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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