How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Bentonville 22610
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Bentonville VA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Bentonville dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Virginia dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Virginia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Bentonville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 supporting the Virginia practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Virginia community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Bentonville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Bentonville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Bentonville area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Virginia colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bentonville area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select offers 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, the majority of Bentonville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Bentonville area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Bentonville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Virginia programs you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, 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 expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 22610 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Bentonville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental Program near Bentonville VAChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period 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 usually 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 typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.