How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Fishkill 12524
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Fishkill NY 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 choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Fishkill dental office and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many New York dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the New York dental board for your state’s mandates. 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Fishkill dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 supporting the New York practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at New York community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Fishkill area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fishkill home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Fishkill area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the New York programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fishkill area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Fishkill 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 an exceptional 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Fishkill area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish 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 kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Fishkill dental practice. They help 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 Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the New York colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning 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 feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 12524 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Fishkill 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Fishkill NYSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.