How to Choose a Dental Hygienist School near Wilmerding Pennsylvania
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Wilmerding PA is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Wilmerding PA practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Wilmerding PA dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Pennsylvania dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Wilmerding PA area junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added 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 two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Wilmerding PA area vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school 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 portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Wilmerding PA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Pennsylvania schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Wilmerding PA area programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Wilmerding PA often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Pennsylvania schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Pennsylvania college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Wilmerding PA dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Wilmerding PA program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Wilmerding PA dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Wilmerding PA dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Pennsylvania programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Wilmerding PA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Wilmerding PA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Hygienist candidates is "What compelled you to pick Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Hygienist and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Hygienist College near Wilmerding PA
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented 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 hygienist in Wilmerding PA.
A Bit About Wilmerding Pennsylvania
Wilmerding is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,190 at the 2010 census. It is located 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Pittsburgh. At the start of the twentieth century, it had extensive foundries and machine shops of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company. Wilmerding is adjacent to the borough of Turtle Creek, which takes its name from a small stream that flows past both places.
George Westinghouse purchased land in the Turtle Creek valley in 1887 and 1888 as a site for his Westinghouse Air Brake Company and related facilities. Westinghouse then sold the land to the East Pittsburgh Improvement Company, incorporated in December 1888, to develop the site, and it began the sale of lots in June 1889.
Wilmerding's most notable historic structure is the Westinghouse Air Brake Company General Office Building (1889–1890, rebuilt 1896), designed by Frederick J. Osterling and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The community was named for Joanna Wilmerding (Bruce) Negley, wife of William B. Negley, who in turn was a local landowner and nephew of Thomas Mellon.
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