How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Braddock Heights 21714
Picking the right dental assistant college near Braddock Heights MD is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Braddock Heights dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Maryland dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Maryland dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Braddock Heights 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 assisting the Maryland practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Maryland community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 also. Many programs also offer internships with Braddock Heights area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Braddock Heights home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Braddock Heights area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maryland colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Braddock Heights area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Braddock Heights area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Braddock Heights area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical 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, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Braddock Heights dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Maryland schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, 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 leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 21714 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Braddock Heights in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental College near Braddock Heights MDPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine 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 elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.