How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Lenox 01240
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Lenox MA is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Lenox dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Massachusetts dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Lenox dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 Massachusetts practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Massachusetts junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Lenox area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Lenox home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Lenox area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Massachusetts programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lenox area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Lenox area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Lenox area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lenox dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Massachusetts schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 01240 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Lenox at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental College near Lenox MAChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.