How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Monticello 04760
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Monticello ME is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, 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 cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Monticello dental practice and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Maine dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Monticello dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Maine junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including 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 generally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Monticello area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Monticello 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 charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed 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 education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Monticello area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Maine schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Monticello area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Monticello area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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 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 best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Monticello area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Monticello 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Maine colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04760 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Monticello in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Monticello MESelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior 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 working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.