How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near West Friendship 21794
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near West Friendship MD is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing 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 important part of any West Friendship dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Maryland dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Maryland dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a West Friendship dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Maryland practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Maryland community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with West Friendship area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program 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 component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your West Friendship home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing West Friendship area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Maryland colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right 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 planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. West Friendship area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. 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 West Friendship area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many West Friendship area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional West Friendship dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build 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 assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Maryland schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 21794 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near West Friendship in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, 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 issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near West Friendship MDPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. 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 job market. When pursuing 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 in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.