Accredited Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Pulaski PA 16143

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Pulaski 16143

dental assistant training in Pulaski PAChoosing the right dental hygienist school near Pulaski PA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine 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 closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Pulaski dental assistant helping dentist 16143Dental assistants are an important component of any Pulaski dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

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

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Pulaski dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the job of a Pulaski dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Pulaski area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Pulaski homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Pulaski home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 16143After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Pulaski area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Pennsylvania programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pulaski area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Pulaski area dental offices 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 an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Pulaski area dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Pulaski dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Pennsylvania programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 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 amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 16143 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Pulaski in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Select the Right Dental College near Pulaski PA

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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