How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Red Bank 07701
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Red Bank NJ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Red Bank dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of New Jersey dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Red Bank dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Jersey practice, deal 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 teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering 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 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. 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 Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at New Jersey community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Red Bank area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Red Bank home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Red Bank area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Red Bank area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select offers the program that you want. 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, the majority of Red Bank area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid 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 college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Red Bank area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Red Bank dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create 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 obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the New Jersey schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07701 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Red Bank at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental Program near Red Bank NJEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.