How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Belmont 03220
Picking the right dental assistant school near Belmont NH is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Belmont dental office and can perform 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 running successfully. Many New Hampshire dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the New Hampshire dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Belmont dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Hampshire practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at New Hampshire junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Belmont area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Belmont home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Belmont area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New Hampshire colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Belmont area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Belmont area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear 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 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Belmont area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Belmont dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the New Hampshire colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 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 related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 03220 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Belmont at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Belmont NHChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally 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 typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.