How to Become a Dental Assistant in Woodbine Maryland
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Woodbine MD is an important initial 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 dental assistant college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials 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 one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Woodbine MD
Dental assistants are an important part of any Woodbine MD dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Maryland dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Woodbine MD
Dental assistant programs are provided at Maryland junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can take 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 Maryland vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Woodbine MD dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Woodbine MD home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Maryland schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Woodbine MD area schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Woodbine MD frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Maryland colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Woodbine MD school you decide on offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Woodbine MD area school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Woodbine MD dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Woodbine MD dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Woodbine MD area programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Woodbine MD.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near your Woodbine MD home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Woodbine MD?
Following is some interesting background information about Woodbine Maryland that you may find helpful.
Woodbine is an unincorporated rural community in Howard and Carroll counties, Maryland, United States. It is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is located southeast of Frederick, west of Baltimore, north of Washington, D.C., and east of Mount Airy. The community was named for the woodbine plant, which grew in the community in fields and along riverbanks.
Woodbine is located at the juncture of the Patapsco River, the B&O Railroad, and the road that runs north from Lisbon to Winfield on Liberty Road (Maryland Route 26) and through to Westminster, Maryland. The original road from Baltimore to Frederick runs just north of Lisbon, following a slight ridge line westward half way to Woodbine (the road was finally paved in the 1960s). This was the original trail that existed before the National Road was built (the road that runs through Lisbon).
During the Civil War, Confederate cavalry crossed the Patapsco River at Woodbine and at Hoods Mill, just a few miles east on the river and the B&O Railroad, scouting the Union Army that was on its way to the Battle of Gettysburg. The main road at that time ran just west of the existing road and up the west side of a creek that runs south and that joins with the Patapsco River just 50 yards west of the existing road. That original road, now partly unused, runs north 100 yards from the river and then Eastward (Gum Road) to join up with the existing road today. There was no bridge across the Patapsco River at that time, just a ford in the river.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant Program near Woodbine MD
Picking the right dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 programs normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Woodbine MD.
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