How to Select a Dental Assistant School near Woburn Massachusetts
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Woburn MA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually 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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore 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 look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Woburn MA dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Massachusetts dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Woburn MA practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Massachusetts community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive 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 Woburn MA dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Massachusetts vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Woburn MA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Massachusetts schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Woburn MA area schools you are looking at in order to make 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 hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Woburn MA typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Massachusetts colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Massachusetts college you decide on offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Woburn MA dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 could 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 right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Woburn MA area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Woburn MA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Woburn MA dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Woburn MA area schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Woburn MA.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Woburn MA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant Program near Woburn MA
Picking the ideal dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically 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 elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Woburn MA.
Tell Me About Woburn Massachusetts
Woburn /ˈwuːbərn/ is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 38,120 at the 2010 census. Woburn is located 9 miles (14 km) north of Boston, Massachusetts.
Woburn was first settled in 1640 near Horn Pond, a primary source of the Mystic River, and was officially incorporated in 1642. At that time the area included present day towns of Woburn, Winchester, Burlington, and parts of Stoneham and Wilmington. In 1730 Wilmington separated from Woburn. In 1799 Burlington separated from Woburn; in 1850 Winchester did so, too.
Woburn got its name from Woburn, Bedfordshire. Woburn played host to the first religious ordination in the Americas on Nov. 22, 1642. Rev. Thomas Carter was sworn in by many of the most prominent men of New England including John Cotton, minister of the First Church of Boston, Richard Mather minister of the First Church of Dorchester, and Capt. Edward Johnson co-founder of the church and town of Woburn. Johnson is regarded as "the father of Woburn." He served as the first town clerk, represented the town in the Massachusetts General Court, made the first map of Massachusetts, and wrote the first history of the colony.
The first organizational Town Meeting was held on April 13, 1644 and the first town officers were chosen. Town Selectmen were Edward Johnson, Edward Convers, John Mousall, William Learned, Ezekiel Richardson, Samuel Richardson and James Thompson. William Learned was also selected as Constable. Michael Bacon, Ralph Hill, Thomas Richardson were chosen as Surveyors of Highways. (The History of Woburn, 1868)
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