How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near South Sutton 03273
Choosing the right dental assistant school near South Sutton NH is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any South Sutton dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many New Hampshire dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the New Hampshire dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a South Sutton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Hampshire practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at New Hampshire community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with South Sutton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your South Sutton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing South Sutton area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the New Hampshire colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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. South Sutton area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of South Sutton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 may 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 right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many South Sutton area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real South Sutton 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the New Hampshire colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 03273 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near South Sutton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near South Sutton NHSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.