Top Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Sumneytown PA 18084

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Sumneytown 18084

dental assistant training in Sumneytown PAChoosing the right dental hygienist school near Sumneytown PA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Sumneytown dental assistant helping dentist 18084Dental assistants are an important component of any Sumneytown dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Pennsylvania dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Sumneytown dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the duties of a Sumneytown dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Pennsylvania community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Sumneytown area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Sumneytown homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Sumneytown home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.

Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 18084Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Sumneytown area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Pennsylvania colleges you are looking at in order to reach 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 ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Sumneytown area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on 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, a large number of Sumneytown area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Sumneytown area dental colleges have relationships 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 sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sumneytown dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Pennsylvania colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 18084 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm 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 need to attend classes near Sumneytown in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Find the Best Dental School near Sumneytown PA

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking 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.

 

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