How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Newington 06111
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Newington CT is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Newington dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Connecticut dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Connecticut dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Newington dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Connecticut practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Connecticut junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Newington area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% 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 convenience of your Newington home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office 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 mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Newington area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Connecticut programs you are reviewing in order to reach 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 ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program 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. Newington area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Newington area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Newington area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Newington dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Connecticut programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 costs 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 06111 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Newington in the evenings 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 procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental Program near Newington CTEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.