How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Montvale 24122
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Montvale VA is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as 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 have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Montvale dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving 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 differ by state, so consult with the Virginia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Montvale dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Virginia community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Montvale area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Montvale home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office 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 style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Montvale area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Virginia schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Montvale area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Montvale area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Montvale area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Montvale dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Virginia schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 24122 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Montvale in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Montvale VASelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.