How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Paramus 07652
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Paramus NJ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Paramus dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of New Jersey dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Paramus dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at New Jersey community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Paramus area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Paramus home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Paramus area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Paramus area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? 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 you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Paramus area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 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 right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Paramus area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Paramus dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the New Jersey schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 07652 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Paramus in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Paramus NJSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.