How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Strafford 03884
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Strafford NH is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Strafford dental practice and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of New Hampshire dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the New Hampshire 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Strafford dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Hampshire practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also 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
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing 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 Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at New Hampshire junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Strafford area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Strafford home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually 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 proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Strafford area schools and programs. As we discussed 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 some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the New Hampshire colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Strafford area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Strafford area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Strafford area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Strafford dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the New Hampshire colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges 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 add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 03884 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Strafford at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dental School near Strafford NHSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.