How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Scranton 29591
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Scranton SC is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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 time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Scranton dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many South Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Scranton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at South Carolina community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Scranton area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Scranton 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 charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Scranton area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the South Carolina colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college 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. Scranton area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Scranton area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Scranton area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Scranton 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the South Carolina schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 29591 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Scranton at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental College near Scranton SCChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative 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 receive your training 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.