How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Beverly 26253
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Beverly WV is an essential first step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors 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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Beverly dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of West Virginia dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving 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 deviate by state, so consult with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 comparing the job of a Beverly dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the West Virginia practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also 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
- Instructing 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 licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at West Virginia junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Beverly area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Beverly home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Beverly area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the West Virginia schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Beverly area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose has the program that you want. 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, a large number of Beverly area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Beverly area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Beverly dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the West Virginia schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, 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 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 colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 26253 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Beverly in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Beverly WVPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.