Accredited Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near New Berlin PA 17855

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near New Berlin 17855

dental assistant training in New Berlin PAChoosing the right dental hygienist school near New Berlin PA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

New Berlin dental assistant helping dentist 17855Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any New Berlin dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

New Berlin dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the role of a New Berlin dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with New Berlin area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in New Berlin homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your New Berlin home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 17855Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing New Berlin area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New Berlin area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper 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’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most New Berlin area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many New Berlin area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional New Berlin 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 Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Small? Ask the Pennsylvania colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college 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 Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 17855 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near New Berlin at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Select the Best Dental College near New Berlin PA

Picking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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