How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Indian Head 20640
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Indian Head MD is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Indian Head dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Maryland dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maryland dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Indian Head dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maryland practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 licensing examinations. After 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 & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Maryland community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Indian Head area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Indian Head home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Indian Head area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Maryland schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Indian Head area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Indian Head area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Indian Head area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Indian Head dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Maryland programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 20640 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Indian Head at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental Program near Indian Head MDSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.