Find Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near West Hartford CT 05084

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near West Hartford 05084

dental assistant training in West Hartford CTPicking the right dental hygienist training near West Hartford CT is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

West Hartford dental assistant helping dentist 05084Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any West Hartford dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Connecticut dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

West Hartford dental hygienist treating patient in ConnecticutWhen contrasting the role of a West Hartford dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Connecticut 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 area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Connecticut junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with West Hartford area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in West Hartford homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your West Hartford home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the best option for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Connecticut dental colleges 05084When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing West Hartford area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Connecticut programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. West Hartford 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, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on 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 work as a hygienist, the majority of West Hartford area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most West Hartford area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real West Hartford dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Check with the Connecticut schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 05084 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near West Hartford in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Select the Right Dental College near West Hartford CT

Choosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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