Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Berwyn PA 19312

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Berwyn 19312

dental assistant training in Berwyn PAPicking the ideal dental hygienist training near Berwyn PA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Berwyn dental assistant helping dentist 19312Dental assistants are an essential component of any Berwyn dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Berwyn dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the duties of a Berwyn dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Berwyn area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Berwyn homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Berwyn home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best choice for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 19312When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Berwyn area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania programs 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 evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Berwyn area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Berwyn area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Berwyn area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Berwyn dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 19312 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Berwyn in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Select the Ideal Dental Program near Berwyn PA

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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 assistant or hygienist.

 

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