How to Find the Right Dental Assistant College near Waterville Maine
Picking the right dental assistant college near Waterville ME is an essential first 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 far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Waterville ME dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maine dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties 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 in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Waterville ME practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 Maine community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Waterville ME 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Maine trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant program might be a viable option for receiving your education. 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Waterville ME home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Maine schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Waterville ME area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Waterville ME frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Maine schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Maine college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Waterville ME dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select 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, verify that the Waterville ME area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Waterville ME dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Waterville ME dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Waterville ME area programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Waterville ME.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Waterville ME home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What drove you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Assistant School near Waterville ME
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Waterville ME.
Tell Me About Waterville Maine
Waterville is a city in Kennebec County of the U.S. state of Maine, United States, on the west bank of the Kennebec River. Home to Colby College and Thomas College, the population was 15,722 at the 2010 census. Waterville is also the latter of the cities which make up the Augusta-Waterville, ME Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Waterville has a Mayor and council-manager form of government, led by a mayor and a seven-member city council. The city council is the governing board, and the city manager is the chief administrative officer of the City, responsible for the management of all City affairs. The city is also home to Fox affiliate WPFO and Daystar rebroadcaster WFYW-LP both serving the Portland market and to several radio stations including Colby's WMHB, country WEBB, adult standards WTVL and MPBN on 91.3 FM. The film Wet Hot American Summer is set in Waterville.
The area now known as Waterville was once inhabited by the Canibas tribe of Abenaki (Indigenous People). Called Taconnet after Chief Taconnet, the main village was located on the east bank of the Kennebec River at its confluence with the Sebasticook River at what is now Winslow. Known as Ticonic by English settlers, it was burned in 1692 during King William's War, after which the Canibas tribe abandoned the area. Fort Halifax was built by General John Winslow in 1754, and the last skirmish with Indigenous peoples occurred on May 18, 1757.
The township would be organized as Kingfield Plantation, then incorporated as Winslow in 1771. When residents on the west side of the Kennebec found themselves unable to cross the river to attend town meetings, Waterville was founded from the western parts of Winslow and incorporated on June 23, 1802. In 1824 a bridge was built joining the communities. Early industries included fishing, lumbering, agriculture and ship building, with larger boats launched in spring during freshets. By the early 1900s, there were five shipyards in the community.
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