Accredited Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Woburn MA 01801

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Woburn 01801

dental assistant training in Woburn MASelecting the right dental hygienist college near Woburn MA is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Woburn dental assistant helping dentist 01801Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Woburn dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Massachusetts dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Dental Hygienists

Woburn dental hygienist treating patient in MassachusettsWhen comparing the duties of a Woburn dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Massachusetts practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Massachusetts junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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 almost 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Woburn area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Woburn homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Woburn home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Massachusetts dental colleges 01801When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Woburn area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Massachusetts programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Woburn area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Woburn area dental practices 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 exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Woburn area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Woburn 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 look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Massachusetts colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 01801 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Woburn at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Pick the Best Dental Program near Woburn MA

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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 hygienist or assistant.

 

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