Accredited Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Warfield VA 23889

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Warfield 23889

dental assistant training in Warfield VAChoosing the right dental assistant college near Warfield VA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance 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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Warfield dental assistant helping dentist 23889Dental assistants are an important part of any Warfield dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Virginia dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying 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 vary by state, so consult with the Virginia dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Job of Dental Hygienists

Warfield dental hygienist treating patient in VirginiaWhen comparing the duties of a Warfield dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Virginia community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Warfield area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Warfield homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for obtaining 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 remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Warfield home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Virginia dental colleges 23889Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Warfield area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Virginia colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Warfield area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Warfield area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 might 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 best school for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Warfield area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate 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 program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Warfield dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Virginia colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on 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 Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 23889 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Warfield in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.

Find the Ideal Dental School near Warfield VA

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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