How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Trexlertown 18087
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Trexlertown PA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess 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 residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Trexlertown dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Pennsylvania dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Trexlertown dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennsylvania practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Trexlertown area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Trexlertown home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Subjects 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 procedure of comparing Trexlertown area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Pennsylvania colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Trexlertown area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Trexlertown area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Trexlertown area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Trexlertown dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Pennsylvania schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 18087 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Trexlertown in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Trexlertown PAPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.