How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Streamwood 60107
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Streamwood IL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Streamwood dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Illinois dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing 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 Illinois dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Streamwood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Illinois practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Illinois junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Streamwood area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your education. 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 Streamwood home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically 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 appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Streamwood area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Illinois programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Streamwood area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Streamwood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. 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 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, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Streamwood area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Streamwood dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Illinois schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment 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 schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 60107 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Streamwood in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Streamwood ILChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.