How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Worthington 26591
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Worthington WV is an essential 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 program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Worthington dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some West Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Worthington dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the West Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at West Virginia junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared 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 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Worthington area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Worthington home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Worthington area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the West Virginia programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, 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. Worthington area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Worthington area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Worthington area dental programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Worthington dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the West Virginia colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 26591 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Worthington at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Worthington WVChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.