Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Edgewood IL 62426

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Edgewood 62426

dental assistant training in Edgewood ILChoosing the right dental assistant college near Edgewood IL 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 far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically 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 expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Edgewood dental assistant helping dentist 62426Dental assistants are an integral part of any Edgewood dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Illinois dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Edgewood dental hygienist treating patient in IllinoisWhen contrasting the role of a Edgewood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Illinois practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Illinois community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Edgewood area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Edgewood homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Edgewood home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office 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 mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Illinois dental colleges 62426Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Edgewood area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Illinois programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Edgewood area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually 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 school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Edgewood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Edgewood area dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Edgewood dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools 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 community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Illinois colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 62426 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Edgewood at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Select the Right Dental School near Edgewood IL

Picking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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