How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Vienna 22180
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Vienna VA is an important initial 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 far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Vienna dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Virginia dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Virginia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Vienna dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Virginia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Virginia community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained 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, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Vienna area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Vienna home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Vienna area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Virginia schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Vienna area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you decide on 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 have a career as a hygienist, most Vienna area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Vienna area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Vienna dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Virginia colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 22180 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Vienna at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near Vienna VAEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish 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 relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.