How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near East Killingly 06243
Picking the right dental assistant program near East Killingly CT is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any East Killingly dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Connecticut dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- 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
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a East Killingly dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Connecticut practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Connecticut community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including 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 usually required to hold 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with East Killingly area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your East Killingly home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing East Killingly area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Connecticut schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college 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. East Killingly area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of East Killingly area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many East Killingly area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional East Killingly dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Connecticut schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 06243 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near East Killingly in the evenings 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 practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental Program near East Killingly CTPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training 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 hygienist or assistant.