How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near East New Market 21631
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near East New Market MD is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review 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 New Market dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Maryland dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Maryland dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a East New Market dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maryland practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Maryland community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with East New Market area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your East New Market home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing East New Market area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maryland schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final 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 hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. East New Market area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has 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. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many East New Market area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of East New Market area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real East New Market dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Maryland schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 21631 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near East New Market at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near East New Market MDEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.