How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near New Limerick 04761
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near New Limerick ME is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any New Limerick dental practice and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a New Limerick dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Maine junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with New Limerick area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your New Limerick home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing New Limerick area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Maine programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good 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 requirement 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New Limerick area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of New Limerick area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many New Limerick area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides enough 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, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional New Limerick dental practice. They make it easier for 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 Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require 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 profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Maine programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04761 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near New Limerick at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental College near New Limerick MEChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.