How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Machiasport 04655
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Machiasport ME is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Machiasport dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Maine dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Machiasport dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When 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 Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Maine junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added 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 require 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Machiasport area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Machiasport home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Machiasport area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Maine colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Machiasport area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on 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, many Machiasport area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Machiasport area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an 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 treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Machiasport dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Maine programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04655 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Machiasport in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Machiasport MEPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.