How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Bridgeport 08014
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Bridgeport NJ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important 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 obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Bridgeport dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Bridgeport dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial 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 perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at New Jersey junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Bridgeport area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bridgeport home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Bridgeport area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the New Jersey programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bridgeport area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Bridgeport 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 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Bridgeport area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Bridgeport 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the New Jersey programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 08014 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Bridgeport at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Bridgeport NJPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish 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 training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.