Accredited Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Jerseyville IL 62052

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Jerseyville 62052

dental assistant training in Jerseyville ILChoosing the right dental assistant program near Jerseyville IL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college’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 have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Jerseyville dental assistant helping dentist 62052Dental assistants are an essential part of any Jerseyville dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Illinois dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving 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 vary by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Jerseyville dental hygienist treating patient in IllinoisWhen contrasting the job of a Jerseyville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Illinois practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Illinois community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Jerseyville area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Jerseyville homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Jerseyville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Illinois dental colleges 62052When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Jerseyville area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Illinois colleges 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 best dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jerseyville area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Jerseyville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Jerseyville area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides adequate 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, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Jerseyville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Illinois schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 62052 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Jerseyville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Pick the Right Dental Program near Jerseyville IL

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community 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 working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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