How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Barrington 60010
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Barrington IL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish 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. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Barrington dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Illinois dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Illinois dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Barrington dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Illinois practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Illinois junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Barrington area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a viable option 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 rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Barrington home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Barrington area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Illinois schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Barrington area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Barrington area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 may 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 right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Barrington area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Barrington dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Illinois colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount 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 besides 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 colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 60010 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Barrington in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental College near Barrington ILSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.