How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Leon 25123
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Leon WV is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Leon dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some West Virginia dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Leon dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the West Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees 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 responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at West Virginia junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Leon area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Leon home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice 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 learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Leon area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the West Virginia colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Leon area employers 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 obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Leon area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Leon area dental programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Leon dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing 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 profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the West Virginia colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 25123 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Leon in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Leon WVSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.