How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Aurora 04408
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Aurora ME is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Aurora dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Maine dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Aurora dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Maine junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Aurora area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Aurora home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Aurora area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Maine schools 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Aurora area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Aurora area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Aurora area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Aurora dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Maine colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04408 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Aurora at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Dental College near Aurora MEChoosing the right 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 a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. 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 ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.