How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Midland 22728
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Midland VA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Midland dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Virginia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Midland dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Virginia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Virginia junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Midland area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Midland home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Midland area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Virginia programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Midland area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Midland 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 excellent reputation and 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 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 Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Midland area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Midland dental practice. They make it easier for 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 Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Virginia schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending 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 private or public also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 22728 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Midland at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Midland VAEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.