How to Choose a Dental Assistant Program near Wyncote Pennsylvania
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Wyncote PA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing 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, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting 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 finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at 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 part of any Wyncote PA dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wyncote PA practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Pennsylvania community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Wyncote PA dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Pennsylvania trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant college might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Wyncote PA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Pennsylvania programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Wyncote PA area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Wyncote PA often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Pennsylvania programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Pennsylvania school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Wyncote PA dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Wyncote PA area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Wyncote PA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Wyncote PA dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Wyncote PA area colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Wyncote PA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near your Wyncote PA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Right Dental Assistant College near Wyncote PA
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Wyncote PA.
Tell Me About Wyncote Pennsylvania
Wyncote is a census-designated place (CDP) bordering North Philadelphia in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. Wyncote is located 5 miles from Center City Philadelphia at the southeasternmost tip of Montgomery County. The Jenkintown-Wyncote SEPTA station is the fifth busiest regional rail station in the SEPTA system, and by far the busiest in Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, and Bucks Counties.
Wyncote is bordered by the Cheltenham neighborhoods of Glenside, Elkins Park, La Mott, and Cedarbrook; the Philadelphia neighborhoods of West Oak Lane and Cedarbrook, as well as the borough of Jenkintown and Abington Township.
Wyncote is located at 40°5′34″N 75°8′33″W / 40.09278°N 75.14250°W / 40.09278; -75.14250 (40.092777, −75.142559).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all of it land.
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