How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Thomaston 04861
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist training near Thomaston ME is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Thomaston dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Maine dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Maine dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Thomaston 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Maine practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 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 Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Maine junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Thomaston area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Thomaston home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Thomaston area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Maine colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Thomaston area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Thomaston area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as 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 school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Thomaston area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Thomaston 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 Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Maine colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 04861 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Thomaston in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Dental College near Thomaston MESelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.