Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Cummington MA 01026

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Cummington 01026

dental assistant training in Cummington MASelecting the right dental hygienist college near Cummington MA is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the program’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 money and time that you are willing to commit. 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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Cummington dental assistant helping dentist 01026Dental assistants are an important part of any Cummington dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Massachusetts dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Cummington dental hygienist treating patient in MassachusettsWhen comparing the duties of a Cummington dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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 assisting the Massachusetts practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out 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
  • Educating patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Massachusetts community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Cummington area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Cummington homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cummington home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best choice for you.

What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Massachusetts dental colleges 01026After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Cummington area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Massachusetts programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cummington area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Cummington area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Cummington area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Cummington dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high 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 Classes Small? Find out from the Massachusetts programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing 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 offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 01026 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Cummington at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Dental College near Cummington MA

Choosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

  • Top Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Wendell Depot MA 01380
  • Search For Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Lanesboro MA 01237
  • Search For Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Harwich MA 02645
  • Find Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Jefferson MA 01522
  • Search For Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Hanscom Afb MA 01731
  • Accredited Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Southborough MA 01772
  • Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near White Horse Beach MA 02381
  • Top Dental Hygienist Training | How to Become a Dental Assistant near West Dennis MA 02670
  • Find Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Hopkinton MA 01748
  • Find Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Milton Village MA 02187
  •