Top Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Whitinsville MA 01588

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Whitinsville 01588

dental assistant training in Whitinsville MAChoosing the ideal dental assistant school near Whitinsville MA is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program 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 as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors 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 roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Whitinsville dental assistant helping dentist 01588Dental assistants are an important component of any Whitinsville dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Massachusetts dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:

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

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Whitinsville dental hygienist treating patient in MassachusettsWhen contrasting the role of a Whitinsville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Massachusetts 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 each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Massachusetts community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. 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 Whitinsville area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Whitinsville homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Whitinsville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Massachusetts dental colleges 01588Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Whitinsville area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Massachusetts schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Whitinsville area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Whitinsville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Whitinsville area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Whitinsville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Massachusetts schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 01588 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Whitinsville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Dental College near Whitinsville MA

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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