Accredited Dental Hygienist Training | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Summerville PA 15864

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Summerville 15864

dental assistant training in Summerville PAChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Summerville PA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Summerville dental assistant helping dentist 15864Dental assistants are an important component of any Summerville dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Summerville dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen comparing the job of a Summerville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Pennsylvania junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Summerville area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Summerville homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Summerville home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 15864When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Summerville area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Summerville area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify 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, the majority of Summerville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Summerville area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Summerville dental practice. They help 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 also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in 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 training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 15864 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Summerville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Dental School near Summerville PA

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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 hygienist or assistant.

 

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