How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Canterbury 06331
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Canterbury CT is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the program’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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover 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 provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Canterbury dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Connecticut dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Canterbury dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Connecticut practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Connecticut junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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. Regardless of 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 offer internships with Canterbury area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Canterbury home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting 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 needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Canterbury area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Connecticut schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Canterbury area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Canterbury area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Canterbury area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Canterbury 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 Classrooms Small? Ask the Connecticut colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors 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 length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 06331 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Canterbury in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Canterbury CTSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn 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 about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.