Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Westfield WI 53964

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Westfield 53964

dental assistant training in Westfield WIPicking the ideal dental hygienist training near Westfield WI is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Westfield dental assistant helping dentist 53964Dental assistants are an important part of any Westfield dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Wisconsin dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Wisconsin dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Westfield dental hygienist treating patient in WisconsinWhen comparing the duties of a Westfield dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wisconsin practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. 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 duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once 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 programs are provided at Wisconsin junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Westfield area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Westfield homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Westfield home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Wisconsin dental colleges 53964After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Westfield area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Wisconsin 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 assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Westfield area employers frequently prefer 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 obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Westfield area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, 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 college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Westfield area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Westfield dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Ask the Wisconsin colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 53964 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Westfield at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Westfield WI

Choosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, 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 education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to 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 better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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