Find Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Presto PA 15142

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Presto 15142

dental assistant training in Presto PASelecting the right dental assistant training near Presto PA is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Presto dental assistant helping dentist 15142Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Presto dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Presto dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the job of a Presto dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably 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 assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When 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 Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Presto area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Presto homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Presto home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often 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 appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 15142After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Presto area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Pennsylvania schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Presto area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Presto 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 college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Presto area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Presto dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend 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 enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 15142 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Presto at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Dental Program near Presto PA

Choosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs 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 usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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