How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Milbridge 04658
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Milbridge ME is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Milbridge dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Milbridge dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 have graduated 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. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Maine junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Milbridge area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Milbridge home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Milbridge area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maine 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 final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Milbridge area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Milbridge 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 a good reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Milbridge area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers 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, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Milbridge 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Maine colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration 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 in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04658 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must 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 have to attend classes near Milbridge at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Milbridge MESelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.