How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Nitro 25143
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Nitro WV is an important first step toward launching 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 choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Nitro dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of West Virginia dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Nitro dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at West Virginia junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Nitro area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Nitro home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Nitro area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the West Virginia colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Nitro area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Nitro area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Nitro area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Nitro dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools 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 profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the West Virginia programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 25143 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Nitro in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental School near Nitro WVEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.