How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near New River 24129
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near New River VA is an essential initial 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 doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any New River dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Virginia dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Virginia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a New River dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, 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 often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Virginia junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with New River area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your New River home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing New River area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Virginia colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New River area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select 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. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of New River area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many New River area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional New River dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Virginia schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 24129 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near New River at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near New River VAChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.