How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Greensboro 21639
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Greensboro MD is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Greensboro dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Maryland dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Maryland dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Greensboro dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maryland practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Maryland community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Greensboro area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Greensboro home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Greensboro area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maryland programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greensboro area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Greensboro area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Greensboro area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers 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, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Greensboro dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Maryland schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 21639 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Greensboro at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Right Dental School near Greensboro MDSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.