Top Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Bradford PA 16701

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Bradford 16701

dental assistant training in Bradford PASelecting the right dental hygienist school near Bradford PA is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should 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 offered.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Bradford dental assistant helping dentist 16701Dental assistants are an essential part of any Bradford dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Bradford dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the duties of a Bradford 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 practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Bradford area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Bradford homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Bradford home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. 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 reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 16701After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Bradford area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, 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. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bradford area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Bradford area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Bradford area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Bradford dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 16701 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Bradford in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Select the Right Dental Program near Bradford PA

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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