How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Greenville Junction 04442
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Greenville Junction ME is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore 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 Greenville Junction dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing 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 vary by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Greenville Junction dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled 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 available at Maine community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Greenville Junction area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Greenville Junction home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Greenville Junction area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Maine colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished 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 valid reasons why you should only enroll in 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. 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Greenville Junction area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select 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. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Greenville Junction area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Greenville Junction area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Greenville Junction dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Maine schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04442 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Greenville Junction in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Dental Program near Greenville Junction MEPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.