Accredited Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Holtwood PA 17532

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Holtwood 17532

dental assistant training in Holtwood PASelecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Holtwood PA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest 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 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Holtwood dental assistant helping dentist 17532Dental assistants are an integral part of any Holtwood dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Holtwood dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the duties of a Holtwood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

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

To qualify for licensing 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Pennsylvania junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Holtwood area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Holtwood homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember 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 personal computer in the convenience of your Holtwood home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 17532When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Holtwood area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Pennsylvania programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Holtwood area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. 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 Holtwood area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Holtwood area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Holtwood dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help getting 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 refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one 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 amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 17532 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Holtwood at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Find the Best Dental School near Holtwood PA

Picking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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