Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Niles IL 60714

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Niles 60714

dental assistant training in Niles ILPicking the right dental assistant school near Niles IL is an important initial step toward launching 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 training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually 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 considerations and supplemental questions that you need to 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 available.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Niles dental assistant helping dentist 60714Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Niles dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Illinois dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • 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 differ by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Niles dental hygienist treating patient in IllinoisWhen comparing the duties of a Niles dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Illinois practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. 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 duties may include:

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

In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When 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 & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Illinois junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Niles area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Niles homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Niles home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced 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 appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the ideal option for you.

What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Illinois dental colleges 60714When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Niles area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Illinois programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Niles area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Niles area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep 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 school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Niles area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Niles dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Illinois schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 60714 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Niles at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Niles IL

Choosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally 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 typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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