How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Palmyra 53156
Picking the right dental assistant program near Palmyra WI is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting 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 normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Palmyra dental office and can perform 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 running efficiently. Some Wisconsin dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Palmyra dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings 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 regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Wisconsin community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Palmyra area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Palmyra home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office 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 mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Palmyra area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Wisconsin schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Palmyra area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Palmyra area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Palmyra area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical 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. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Palmyra dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement 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 employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Wisconsin colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 53156 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Palmyra at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required 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 illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Dental School near Palmyra WIEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training 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 working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.