How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant College near Westminster Maryland
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Westminster MD is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Westminster MD dental practice and can carry out a myriad 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 efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Maryland dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Westminster MD practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Maryland 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 available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Westminster MD dental offices are usually 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Maryland community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Westminster MD home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Maryland programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Westminster MD area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Westminster MD typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited Maryland colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Maryland school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Westminster MD 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 an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Westminster MD area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Westminster MD dental practice. They make it easier for 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Westminster MD dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Westminster MD area schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Westminster MD.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near your Westminster MD home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What drove you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Westminster MD
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Westminster MD.
Tell Me About Westminster Maryland
Westminster is a city in northern Maryland, United States. A suburb of both Baltimore and Washington, D.C., it is the seat of Carroll County. The city's population was 18,590 at the 2010 census. Westminster is an outlying community within the Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA, which is part of a greater Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV CSA.
William Winchester (1706-1790) purchased approximately 167 acres of land called White's Level in 1754 which became known as the city of Winchester. The Maryland General Assembly later changed the name of his town from Winchester to Westminster because Winchester was also the name of the county seat of Frederick County, Virginia where it was at that time located.
On June 28, 1863, the cavalry skirmish known as Corbit's Charge was fought in the streets of Westminster, when two companies of Delaware cavalry attacked a much larger Confederate force under General J.E.B. Stuart, during the Gettysburg Campaign.
In April 1865, Joseph Shaw, newspaper editor, had his presses wrecked and his business destroyed, and was subsequently beaten and stabbed to death by four men in Westminster, allegedly because of an anti-Lincoln editorial that was published the week before the actual assassination. In a later trial at the Westminster Court House the four men were acquitted; the reason cited was "self-defense".
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