Accredited Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Parker PA 16049

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Parker 16049

dental assistant training in Parker PAPicking the ideal dental assistant school near Parker PA is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. 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 getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Parker dental assistant helping dentist 16049Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Parker dental practice and can carry out a myriad 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 running successfully. Many Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Parker dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the duties of a Parker dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. 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
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed in nearly 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 licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Parker area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Parker homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Parker home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 16049When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Parker area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Pennsylvania schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Parker area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Parker area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Parker area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Parker dental practice. They help 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 too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending 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 besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 16049 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Parker in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Select the Right Dental College near Parker PA

Picking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally 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 choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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