How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Ladiesburg 21759
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Ladiesburg MD is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Ladiesburg dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Maryland dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- 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 deviate by state, so check with the Maryland dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 role of a Ladiesburg dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maryland practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Maryland junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Ladiesburg area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Ladiesburg home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Ladiesburg area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Maryland schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Ladiesburg area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Ladiesburg area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Ladiesburg area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Ladiesburg dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Maryland programs you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 21759 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Ladiesburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental College near Ladiesburg MDChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning 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 selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.