Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Fort Monmouth NJ 07703

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Fort Monmouth 07703

dental assistant training in Fort Monmouth NJChoosing the ideal dental assistant training near Fort Monmouth NJ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Fort Monmouth dental assistant helping dentist 07703Dental assistants are an essential part of any Fort Monmouth dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Fort Monmouth dental hygienist treating patient in New JerseyWhen contrasting the role of a Fort Monmouth dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

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

To qualify for licensing 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 licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at New Jersey community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast 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 two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Fort Monmouth area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Fort Monmouth homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable alternative for receiving 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 personal computer in the comfort of your Fort Monmouth home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice 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 method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask New Jersey dental colleges 07703After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Fort Monmouth area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fort Monmouth area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Fort Monmouth area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear 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 school may have a solid 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, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Fort Monmouth area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Fort Monmouth dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the New Jersey colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07703 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to 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 need to attend classes near Fort Monmouth at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical 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 responsibilities.

Choose the Ideal Dental Program near Fort Monmouth NJ

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing 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.

 

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