How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Point Of Rocks 21777
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Point Of Rocks MD is an essential first step toward starting 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, 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 considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Point Of Rocks dental practice and can perform a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Maryland dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Maryland dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Point Of Rocks dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maryland practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Maryland community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional 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 require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Point Of Rocks area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Point Of Rocks home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical 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 receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online college is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Point Of Rocks area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Maryland colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Point Of Rocks area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Point Of Rocks area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Point Of Rocks area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose 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 evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Point Of Rocks dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Maryland colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 21777 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Point Of Rocks in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Point Of Rocks MDSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually 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 usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.