How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Charlottesville 46117
Picking the right dental assistant school near Charlottesville IN is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Charlottesville dental practice and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Indiana dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Indiana dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Charlottesville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Indiana practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains 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 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Indiana junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Charlottesville area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Charlottesville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Charlottesville area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Indiana colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Charlottesville area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college 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 earn a living as a hygienist, many Charlottesville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep 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 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, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Charlottesville area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Charlottesville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Indiana programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 46117 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Charlottesville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Dental School near Charlottesville INSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination 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 hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.