How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Spring Valley 61362
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Spring Valley IL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Spring Valley dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Illinois dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Illinois dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Spring Valley 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 practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Illinois practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Illinois junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. 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 additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Spring Valley area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Spring Valley home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Spring Valley area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Illinois programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Spring Valley area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Spring Valley area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Spring Valley area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select 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, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Spring Valley 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Illinois schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 61362 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Spring Valley at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near Spring Valley ILSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning 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 addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.