How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Lena 54139
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Lena WI is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Lena dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Wisconsin dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Lena dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest 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 Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed 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 programs are offered at Wisconsin community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Lena area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Lena home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Lena area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Wisconsin programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose 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. 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lena area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose 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 work as a hygienist, most Lena 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 school has a good 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Lena area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Lena dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Wisconsin programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide 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 degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 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 make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 54139 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Lena at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental Program near Lena WISelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.