How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Emmaus 18049
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Emmaus PA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the school’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Emmaus dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Emmaus dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Pennsylvania community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased 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 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Emmaus area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Emmaus home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer 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 often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Emmaus area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Pennsylvania schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Emmaus area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Emmaus area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep 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, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Emmaus area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Emmaus dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Pennsylvania programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are 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 witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost based 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 have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing 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 check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 18049 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure 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 must attend classes near Emmaus in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Dental School near Emmaus PAPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.