How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near East Greenwich 02818
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near East Greenwich RI is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any East Greenwich dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Rhode Island dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 Rhode Island dental board for your state’s policies. 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 elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a East Greenwich dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Rhode Island practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Rhode Island junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with East Greenwich area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your East Greenwich home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing East Greenwich area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Rhode Island schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. East Greenwich area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of East Greenwich area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most East Greenwich area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional East Greenwich dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Rhode Island colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 02818 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm 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 have to attend classes near East Greenwich at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near East Greenwich RIChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.