How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Troy 04987
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Troy ME is an important first step toward launching 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 completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Troy dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Maine dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying 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 Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Troy dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maine practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Maine junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 sponsor internships with Troy area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Troy home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. 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 mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Troy area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Maine colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Troy area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Troy area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as 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 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 right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Troy area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Troy 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 Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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 employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Maine schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 04987 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Troy in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental School near Troy MEPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.