How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Rochdale 01542
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Rochdale MA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Rochdale dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Massachusetts dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Rochdale dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Massachusetts practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding 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 licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Massachusetts junior colleges as well as trade or vocational 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. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Rochdale area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Rochdale home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Rochdale area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Massachusetts schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Rochdale area employers typically desire or require that new hires 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 schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Rochdale area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear 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 strong 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 Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Rochdale area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers enough 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, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Rochdale 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 Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Massachusetts schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 01542 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Rochdale at nights or on weekends. And even if you select 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 because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental School near Rochdale MAEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.