How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Oneonta 13820
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Oneonta NY is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Oneonta dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many New York dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New York dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Oneonta dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New York practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at New York community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Oneonta area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Oneonta home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Oneonta area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the New York colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Oneonta area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Oneonta area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Oneonta area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers 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, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Oneonta dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the New York schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense 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 factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 13820 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Oneonta in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need 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 work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental School near Oneonta NYPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose 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.