How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Norridgewock 04957
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Norridgewock ME is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Norridgewock dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Maine dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing 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 dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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
When comparing the duties of a Norridgewock dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Maine community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Norridgewock area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Norridgewock home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Norridgewock area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Maine programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Norridgewock area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Norridgewock area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Norridgewock area dental schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Norridgewock dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Maine schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04957 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Norridgewock at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Norridgewock MEEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.