How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Suffield 06078
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Suffield CT is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. 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 have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Suffield dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Connecticut dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Suffield 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 assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Connecticut 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 present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered 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 available at Connecticut community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Suffield area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Suffield home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office 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 style of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Suffield area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Connecticut programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Suffield area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Suffield area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Suffield area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Suffield dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Connecticut schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 06078 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Suffield in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental College near Suffield CTPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want 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 amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.