How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Middletown 06457
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Middletown CT is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Middletown dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Connecticut dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Middletown dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Connecticut practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums 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
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When 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 and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Connecticut community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Middletown area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Middletown home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office 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 style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Middletown area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Connecticut colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Middletown area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices 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 Middletown area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Middletown area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides enough 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, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Middletown dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Connecticut schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, 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 costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 06457 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Middletown in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental School near Middletown CTChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.