How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Plantsville 06479
Picking the right dental assistant school near Plantsville CT is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must 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 program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental 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 assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Plantsville dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Connecticut dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Plantsville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Connecticut practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Connecticut community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Plantsville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Plantsville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Plantsville area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Connecticut programs you are looking at 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 final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Plantsville area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Plantsville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Plantsville area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Plantsville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Connecticut programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, 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 amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 06479 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Plantsville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental Program near Plantsville CTEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.