How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Foxboro 02035
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Foxboro MA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs 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 provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Foxboro dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Massachusetts dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 differ by state, so consult with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Foxboro dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Massachusetts practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Massachusetts community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Foxboro area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Foxboro home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Foxboro area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Massachusetts schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Foxboro area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Foxboro area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical 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 Foxboro area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Foxboro 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Massachusetts colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 02035 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Foxboro at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Foxboro MAPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.