How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near East Machias 04630
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near East Machias ME is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant 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 receiving 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 usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to 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 Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any East Machias dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Maine dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a East Machias dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Maine community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added 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 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with East Machias area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your East Machias home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing East Machias area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Maine schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. East Machias area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college 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, the majority of East Machias area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most East Machias area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real East Machias dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Maine schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04630 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near East Machias in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental College near East Machias MEEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 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 online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.