How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near New London 54961
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near New London WI is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent 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. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing 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 Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any New London dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Wisconsin dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a New London dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Wisconsin practice, work 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 teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Wisconsin junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with New London area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your New London home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing New London area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Wisconsin colleges 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New London area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of New London area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many New London area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish 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 type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real New London dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Wisconsin programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 54961 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near New London at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental College near New London WISelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.