Find Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Lee IL 60530

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Lee 60530

dental assistant training in Lee ILSelecting the right dental assistant college near Lee IL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Lee dental assistant helping dentist 60530Dental assistants are an essential part of any Lee dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Illinois dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate 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. 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist

Lee dental hygienist treating patient in IllinoisWhen contrasting the role of a Lee dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously 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 typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Illinois community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including 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 offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Lee area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Lee homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lee home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed 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 discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right option for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Illinois dental colleges 60530When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Lee area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Illinois colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lee area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Lee area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Lee area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lee dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high 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 Classrooms Small? Ask the Illinois schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 60530 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Lee at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need 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.

Enroll in the Right Dental Program near Lee IL

Picking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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