How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Burlington 53105
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Burlington WI is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must 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 program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Burlington dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Wisconsin dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Burlington dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Wisconsin community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 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 clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Burlington area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Burlington home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Burlington area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Wisconsin schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Burlington area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Burlington area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Burlington area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Burlington dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Wisconsin schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on 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 instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost 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 schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 53105 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Burlington in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Burlington WIEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.