Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near West Newbury MA 01985

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near West Newbury 01985

dental assistant training in West Newbury MAChoosing the ideal dental assistant training near West Newbury MA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

West Newbury dental assistant helping dentist 01985Dental assistants are an important component of any West Newbury dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Massachusetts dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

West Newbury dental hygienist treating patient in MassachusettsWhen comparing the duties of a West Newbury dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Massachusetts practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Massachusetts junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased 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 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with West Newbury area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in West Newbury homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your West Newbury home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.

What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Massachusetts dental colleges 01985After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing West Newbury area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Massachusetts colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. West Newbury area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of West Newbury area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of West Newbury area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides 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, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real West Newbury dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Massachusetts schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 01985 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near West Newbury in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Find the Best Dental Program near West Newbury MA

Choosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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