How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Antigo 54409
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Antigo WI is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Antigo dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Wisconsin dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Antigo dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When 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 Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Wisconsin community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Antigo area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Antigo home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Antigo area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Wisconsin colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Antigo 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, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Antigo area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Antigo area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Antigo 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Wisconsin colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 54409 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Antigo at nights 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 work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Antigo WIChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.