How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Greencastle 17225
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Greencastle PA is an important initial step toward beginning 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 choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the school’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 time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Greencastle dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Greencastle dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Pennsylvania junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Greencastle area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Greencastle home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Greencastle area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Pennsylvania programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Greencastle area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Greencastle area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 might 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 Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Greencastle area dental schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Greencastle dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out 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 community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Pennsylvania colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 17225 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Greencastle at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Greencastle PAEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.