How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Waldwick 07463
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Waldwick NJ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Waldwick dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of New Jersey dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying 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 vary by state, so consult with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 role of a Waldwick dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the New Jersey practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at New Jersey junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Waldwick area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for obtaining 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 desktop computer in the comfort of your Waldwick home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Waldwick area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the New Jersey programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Waldwick area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Waldwick area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Waldwick area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Waldwick dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the New Jersey programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire 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 variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 07463 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Waldwick at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental College near Waldwick NJChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program 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 offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.