How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Nashua 03060
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Nashua NH is an essential 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 much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Nashua dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of New Hampshire dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the New Hampshire dental board for your state’s policies. 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Nashua dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Hampshire practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled 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 programs are offered at New Hampshire junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually 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 additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Nashua area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Nashua home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Nashua area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the New Hampshire colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nashua area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Nashua area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Nashua area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Nashua dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 Classes Small? Ask the New Hampshire programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 03060 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Nashua in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental College near Nashua NHSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain 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 roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.