How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Elkton 97436
Picking the right dental assistant program near Elkton OR is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Elkton dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Oregon dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Oregon dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Elkton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Oregon practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When 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 courses are available at Oregon community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Elkton area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Elkton home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Elkton area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Oregon schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Elkton area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Elkton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Elkton area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Elkton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Oregon programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer 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 in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 97436 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 acquiring your education and must attend classes near Elkton at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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.
Pick the Best Dental College near Elkton ORPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to 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 better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.