Accredited Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Tower City PA 17980

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Tower City 17980

dental assistant training in Tower City PASelecting the ideal dental assistant program near Tower City PA is an essential initial 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 far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Tower City dental assistant helping dentist 17980Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Tower City dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

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

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Tower City dental hygienist treating patient in PennsylvaniaWhen contrasting the duties of a Tower City dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pennsylvania practice, deal 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 every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed 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. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Pennsylvania community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have 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 almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Tower City area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Tower City homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Tower City home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Pennsylvania dental colleges 17980Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Tower City area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Pennsylvania schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tower City area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Tower City area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep 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 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 best college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Tower City area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Tower City dental practice. They help 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 Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Pennsylvania schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 17980 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Tower City in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Dental College near Tower City PA

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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