How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Bethesda 43719
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Bethesda OH is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Bethesda dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Ohio dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing 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 office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Ohio dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 job of a Bethesda dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Ohio practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Ohio junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. 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 offer internships with Bethesda area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bethesda home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Bethesda area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Ohio schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bethesda area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? 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 choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Bethesda area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good 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 could 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 right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Bethesda area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Bethesda dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Ohio schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 43719 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Bethesda at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Bethesda OHEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain 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 schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 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 credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.