How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Chester 26034
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Chester WV is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties 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 Chester dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of West Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Chester dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. 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 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. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at West Virginia community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually 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 assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Chester area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Chester home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Chester area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the West Virginia colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chester area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Chester area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Chester area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Chester dental practice. They help 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 Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the West Virginia schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large 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 experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 26034 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Chester in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Chester WVChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.