Find Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Antioch IL 60002

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Antioch 60002

dental assistant training in Antioch ILPicking the right dental hygienist college near Antioch IL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Antioch dental assistant helping dentist 60002Dental assistants are an important part of any Antioch dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Illinois dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Illinois dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Antioch dental hygienist treating patient in IllinoisWhen contrasting the job of a Antioch dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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 Illinois practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

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

To qualify for licensing 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 licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Illinois community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Antioch area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Antioch homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Antioch home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Illinois dental colleges 60002Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Antioch area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Illinois schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Antioch area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Antioch area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Antioch area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose 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, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Antioch dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Small? Ask the Illinois schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 60002 area.

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

Select the Right Dental College near Antioch IL

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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