How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Stephenson 25928
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Stephenson WV is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools 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 Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Stephenson dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of West Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Stephenson dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the West Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at West Virginia junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Stephenson area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Stephenson home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Stephenson area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the West Virginia programs you are looking at 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 enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Stephenson area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose 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 have a career as a hygienist, many Stephenson area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Stephenson area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Stephenson dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the West Virginia schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 25928 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Stephenson in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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 responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near Stephenson WVChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount 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 obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.