How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Switzer 25647
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Switzer WV is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties 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 generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Switzer dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some West Virginia dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide 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 role of a Switzer dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the West Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at West Virginia community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared 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 clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Switzer area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Switzer home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Switzer area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the West Virginia programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program 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. Switzer area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select has the program that you want. 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, a large number of Switzer area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Switzer area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like 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 a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Switzer dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the West Virginia colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 25647 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Switzer in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental Program near Switzer WVPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.