How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Sabattus 04280
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Sabattus ME is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Sabattus dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Maine dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Sabattus dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Maine community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Sabattus area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Sabattus home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Sabattus area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Maine programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sabattus area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Sabattus area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 might 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 Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Sabattus area dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Sabattus dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Maine programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04280 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Sabattus in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental College near Sabattus MEChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.