How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Newark 07101
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Newark NJ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the college’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 time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Newark dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of New Jersey dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide 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 job of a Newark dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Jersey practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at New Jersey junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Newark area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Newark home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Newark area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the New Jersey schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Newark area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Newark area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. 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 college may have a solid 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, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Newark area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Newark 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the New Jersey colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school 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 training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07101 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Newark at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental College near Newark NJChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.