How to Pick a Dental Assistant Training Program in New Hampshire
Picking the ideal dental assistant training in New Hampshire is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any New Hampshire dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the New Hampshire dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at New Hampshire community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in New Hampshire community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your New Hampshire home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing New Hampshire schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program 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. Employers in New Hampshire often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited New Hampshire programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the New Hampshire school you choose offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of New Hampshire dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher 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 solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the New Hampshire college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real New Hampshire 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 Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the New Hampshire dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the New Hampshire schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in New Hampshire.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your New Hampshire home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Find the Right Dental Assistant School in New Hampshire
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in New Hampshire.