How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Newtonville 08346
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Newtonville NJ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually 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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Newtonville dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- 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
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s regulations. 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 elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Newtonville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at New Jersey junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Newtonville area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Newtonville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Newtonville area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the New Jersey colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Newtonville area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on 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 work as a hygienist, many Newtonville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Newtonville area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough 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, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Newtonville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good 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 New Jersey colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level 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 depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 08346 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Newtonville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental Program near Newtonville NJChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.