How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Dixmont 04932
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Dixmont ME is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Dixmont dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Maine dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Dixmont dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Maine community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Dixmont area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Dixmont home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Dixmont area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Maine colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dixmont area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you decide on 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Dixmont area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Dixmont area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Dixmont dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement 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 large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Maine schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04932 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Dixmont in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Dixmont MEPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.