How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Lakewood 62438
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Lakewood IL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically 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 cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Lakewood dental practice and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Illinois dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Lakewood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Illinois practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Illinois community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Lakewood area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lakewood home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Lakewood area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Illinois schools you are comparing in order to reach 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 best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lakewood area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable 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 confirm that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Lakewood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Lakewood area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lakewood 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Illinois programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 62438 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Lakewood at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental College near Lakewood ILChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend 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 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.