How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near North Bay 13123
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near North Bay NY is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as 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 depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any North Bay dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some New York dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the New York dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a North Bay dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the New York practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at New York junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 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 classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with North Bay area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your North Bay home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. 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 required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing North Bay area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the New York schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. North Bay area employers typically desire 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 offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of North Bay 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 school has an excellent reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of North Bay area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real North Bay dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the New York programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 13123 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near North Bay in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental College near North Bay NYPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.