How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Premier 24878
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Premier WV is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Premier dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many West Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Premier dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, 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 an individual basis. They are often 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 tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at West Virginia community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Premier area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Premier home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Premier area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the West Virginia schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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. Premier area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Premier area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Premier area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Premier 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the West Virginia programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 24878 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Premier at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Right Dental Program near Premier WVSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.