How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Stevenson 21153
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Stevenson MD is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. 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 money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Stevenson dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Maryland dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Maryland dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Stevenson dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maryland practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Maryland junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Stevenson area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Stevenson home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Stevenson area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Maryland programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Stevenson area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Stevenson 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 college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Stevenson area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Stevenson dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Maryland programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 21153 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Stevenson in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Select the Right Dental School near Stevenson MDEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively 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 generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend 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 in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.