How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Rochester 53167
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Rochester WI is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Rochester dental practice and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Wisconsin dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s regulations. 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Rochester dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Wisconsin practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 available at Wisconsin junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Rochester area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Rochester home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Rochester area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Wisconsin colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Rochester area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Rochester area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good 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 best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Rochester area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Rochester dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Wisconsin programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 53167 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Rochester in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Rochester WIPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.