How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Stockton 08559
Picking the right dental assistant training near Stockton NJ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at 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 Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Stockton dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many New Jersey dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Stockton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at New Jersey junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Stockton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Stockton home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Stockton area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the New Jersey colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, 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. Stockton area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Stockton area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 strong 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, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Stockton area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Stockton dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the New Jersey schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide 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 enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 08559 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Stockton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Stockton NJChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. 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 by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.