How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Water View 23180
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Water View VA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as 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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Water View dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Virginia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide 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 comparing the job of a Water View dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Virginia junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Water View area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Water View home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened 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 get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Water View area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Virginia programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, 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 several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Water View area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Water View area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Water View area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Water View dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Virginia schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one 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 level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 23180 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Water View in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental School near Water View VAPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.