Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Hardyville VA 23070

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Hardyville 23070

dental assistant training in Hardyville VAPicking the ideal dental assistant program near Hardyville VA is an important first step toward launching 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 completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Hardyville dental assistant helping dentist 23070Dental assistants are an important part of any Hardyville dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Virginia dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Virginia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Hardyville dental hygienist treating patient in VirginiaWhen comparing the role of a Hardyville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Virginia 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 area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled 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 Virginia junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Hardyville area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Hardyville homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Hardyville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically 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 dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Virginia dental colleges 23070After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Hardyville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Virginia schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hardyville area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Hardyville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 right school for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Hardyville area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school 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, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Hardyville 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 are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Small? Ask the Virginia schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 23070 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Hardyville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Hardyville VA

Choosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend 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 period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning 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 presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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