How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Enfield Center 03749
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Enfield Center NH is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Enfield Center dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of New Hampshire dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the New Hampshire dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Enfield Center dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Hampshire practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at New Hampshire community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Enfield Center area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Enfield Center home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Enfield Center area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the New Hampshire programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick 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. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Enfield Center area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select 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. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Enfield Center 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 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Enfield Center area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Enfield Center dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the New Hampshire colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 03749 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Enfield Center at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have 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 due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Enfield Center NHChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.