How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Pine Forge 19548
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Pine Forge PA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Pine Forge dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Pine Forge dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, deal 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 may also perform basic procedures. Based 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 hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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. When 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 Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Pine Forge area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Pine Forge home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community 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 discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Pine Forge area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college 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. Pine Forge area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Pine Forge area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Pine Forge area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Pine Forge dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good 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? Check with the Pennsylvania programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 19548 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Pine Forge in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental Program near Pine Forge PAPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.