How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Cumberland 02864
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist training near Cumberland RI is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally 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 reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Cumberland dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Rhode Island dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Rhode Island dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Cumberland dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Rhode Island practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Rhode Island junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased 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 take 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Cumberland area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Cumberland home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Cumberland area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Rhode Island programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program 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. Cumberland area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right 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 has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Cumberland area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Cumberland area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Cumberland dental practice. They help 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 Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Rhode Island colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be 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 most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 02864 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Cumberland in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental College near Cumberland RIChoosing 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 numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community 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 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.