How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Drummond 59832
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Drummond MT 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 completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Drummond dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Montana dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Montana dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Drummond dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Montana practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Montana junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Drummond area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Drummond home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Drummond area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Montana colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Drummond area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Drummond area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 might 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 school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Drummond area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Drummond dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent 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? Find out from the Montana schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 59832 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Drummond in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near Drummond MTChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.