How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Jackson 53037
Picking the right dental assistant college near Jackson WI is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Jackson dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Wisconsin dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Jackson dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 offered at Wisconsin community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Jackson area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Jackson home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice 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 dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Jackson area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Wisconsin colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Jackson area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has 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 have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Jackson area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Jackson area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select offers 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 program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Jackson dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Wisconsin schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 53037 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Jackson in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Jackson WIPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.