Accredited Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Schuylerville NY 12871

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Schuylerville 12871

dental assistant training in Schuylerville NYChoosing the ideal dental assistant program near Schuylerville NY is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Schuylerville dental assistant helping dentist 12871Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Schuylerville dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of New York dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the New York dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need 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

Schuylerville dental hygienist treating patient in New YorkWhen contrasting the role of a Schuylerville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 New York practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

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

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 licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are available at New York junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Schuylerville area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Schuylerville homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Schuylerville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area 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 discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask New York dental colleges 12871Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Schuylerville area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New York programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Schuylerville area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Schuylerville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Schuylerville area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient 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, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Schuylerville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Small? Find out from the New York colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 12871 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Schuylerville at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Pick the Best Dental School near Schuylerville NY

Picking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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