Top Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Mill Creek PA 17060

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Mill Creek 17060

dental assistant training in Mill Creek PASelecting the ideal dental assistant school near Mill Creek PA is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the program’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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Mill Creek dental assistant helping dentist 17060Dental assistants are an integral part of any Mill Creek dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Mill Creek dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the duties of a Mill Creek dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Pennsylvania community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Mill Creek area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Mill Creek homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Mill Creek home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 17060After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Mill Creek area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Mill Creek area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Mill Creek area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Mill Creek area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Mill Creek dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Ask the Pennsylvania colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 17060 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Mill Creek at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Mill Creek PA

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period 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 typically receive 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 two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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