How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Glen Dale 26038
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Glen Dale WV is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Glen Dale dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of West Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Glen Dale dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the West Virginia 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 area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at West Virginia junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Glen Dale area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glen Dale home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Glen Dale area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the West Virginia colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glen Dale area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Glen Dale area 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 school 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 assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Glen Dale area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Glen Dale 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the West Virginia colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 26038 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Glen Dale at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental College near Glen Dale WVPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.