How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Sutton 26601
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Sutton WV is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Sutton dental office and can carry out a variety 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. Many West Virginia dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Sutton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly 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, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently 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 carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at West Virginia community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one 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 classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Sutton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Sutton home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Sutton area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the West Virginia programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sutton area employers often 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 provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Sutton 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 a good reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Sutton area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sutton 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the West Virginia schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 26601 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Sutton at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Sutton WVSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.