How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Swedesboro 08085
Picking the right dental assistant training near Swedesboro NJ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Swedesboro dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many New Jersey dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the New Jersey dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Swedesboro 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the New Jersey practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at New Jersey community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased 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 require 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Swedesboro area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Swedesboro home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Swedesboro area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the New Jersey programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Swedesboro area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college 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 earn a living as a hygienist, many Swedesboro area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Swedesboro area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Swedesboro dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the New Jersey schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 08085 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Swedesboro at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Swedesboro NJChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.