How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Landingville 17942
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Landingville PA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Landingville dental practice and can perform a variety of tasks. Their principal job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Landingville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Pennsylvania junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally 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 almost 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 clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Landingville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Landingville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Landingville area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Pennsylvania schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Landingville area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Landingville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 could 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 Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Landingville area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Landingville dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Pennsylvania colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary 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 public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 17942 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Landingville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental Program near Landingville PAPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. 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 addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.