How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Wyco 25943
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Wyco WV is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining 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 complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Wyco dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of West Virginia dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate 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 certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Wyco dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the West Virginia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at West Virginia community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Wyco area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Wyco home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Wyco area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the West Virginia schools you are comparing 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 ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Wyco area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Wyco area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Wyco area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want 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 an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Wyco dental practice. They make it easier for 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance 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 large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the West Virginia schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 25943 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Wyco 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Dental Program near Wyco WVChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.