How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near North Yarmouth 04097
Selecting the right dental assistant program near North Yarmouth ME is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any North Yarmouth dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a North Yarmouth dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Maine junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with North Yarmouth area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your North Yarmouth home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing North Yarmouth area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Maine programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. North Yarmouth area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of North Yarmouth area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many North Yarmouth area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional North Yarmouth dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Maine programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized 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 teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04097 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near North Yarmouth in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near North Yarmouth MEChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.