Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Bryn Athyn PA 19009

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Bryn Athyn 19009

dental assistant training in Bryn Athyn PAChoosing the ideal dental assistant school near Bryn Athyn PA is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Bryn Athyn dental assistant helping dentist 19009Dental assistants are an essential component of any Bryn Athyn dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving 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 vary by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist

Bryn Athyn dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the duties of a Bryn Athyn dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 in addition to passing 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 Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Pennsylvania junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Bryn Athyn area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Bryn Athyn homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Bryn Athyn home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed 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 dental online program is the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 19009When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Bryn Athyn area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bryn Athyn 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, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has 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 have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Bryn Athyn area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely 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 essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Bryn Athyn area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Bryn Athyn dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 19009 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Bryn Athyn in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Bryn Athyn PA

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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