How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Clarksburg 08510
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Clarksburg NJ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’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 are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Clarksburg dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many New Jersey dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Clarksburg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, work 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 each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After 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 and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at New Jersey junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Clarksburg area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Clarksburg home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Clarksburg area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the New Jersey colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school 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. Clarksburg area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Clarksburg 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 college 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 strong 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 right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Clarksburg area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Clarksburg dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the New Jersey schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 08510 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Clarksburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Clarksburg NJEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.