How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Pocono Pines 18350
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Pocono Pines PA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically 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 expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Pocono Pines dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate 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 choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Pocono Pines dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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 supporting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may 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 junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally 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 nearly 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. Many programs also offer internships with Pocono Pines area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Pocono Pines home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Pocono Pines area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Pennsylvania programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pocono Pines area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available 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 make certain that the school you choose offers 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, most Pocono Pines area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Pocono Pines area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like 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 a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Pocono Pines 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Pennsylvania programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 18350 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Pocono Pines in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental College near Pocono Pines PAEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.