How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Nottingham 19362
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Nottingham PA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Nottingham dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Nottingham dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Pennsylvania community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 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 Nottingham area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Nottingham home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area 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 style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Nottingham area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Pennsylvania programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nottingham area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm 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. In order to work as a hygienist, many Nottingham area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if 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 school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Nottingham area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Nottingham dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Pennsylvania schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 19362 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Nottingham in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Nottingham PAEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.