How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Lititz 17543
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Lititz PA is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Lititz dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Lititz dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Pennsylvania junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational 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 offer internships with Lititz area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Lititz home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Lititz area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good 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 almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, 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. Lititz area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Lititz area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because 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 might 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Lititz area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lititz dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Pennsylvania schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 17543 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure 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 Lititz in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Lititz PAChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.