How to Choose a Dental Hygienist School near Sterling Virginia
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Sterling VA is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Sterling VA practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Sterling VA dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Virginia dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Sterling VA area community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Sterling VA area trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Sterling VA home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Virginia schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Sterling VA area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Sterling VA frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Virginia programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Virginia college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Sterling VA dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 Sterling VA college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Sterling VA dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Sterling VA dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Virginia programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Sterling VA.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Sterling VA home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask Dental Hygienist prospects is "What drove you to pick Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Sterling VA
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Sterling VA.
A Bit About Sterling Virginia
Sterling, Virginia is a census-designated place (CDP) in Loudoun County, Virginia. The population as of the 2010 United States Census was 27,822. It is located northwest of Herndon, east of Ashburn, and west of Great Falls, and includes part of Washington Dulles International Airport and the former AOL corporate headquarters. Sterling is also home to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office LWX (serving the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area), as well as the Sterling Field Support Center, the National Weather Service test, research, and evaluation center for weather instruments.
In the beginning of 1962, large farms made up the 1,762 acres (713 ha) of what today is called Sterling Park. Route 7, also known as Leesburg Pike, bordered what used to be Jesse Hughes's dairy farm. Hughes arrived in Loudoun County in the early 20th century and was a longtime head of the county's Democrats. Fred Franklin Tavenner, who was somewhat related to Benjamin Franklin, operated vast stretches of Sterling Farm at the southwest fringes of Sterling Park. Tavenner had purchased land from Albert Shaw, Jr., who had inherited it from his father Albert B. Shaw, editor and publisher of the American Review of Reviews. One of Shaw's spreads, totaling 1,640 acres (660 ha), was called "The Experimental Farm" because it was one of the first area farms to receive a U.S. grant for applying "scientific methods", as Tavenner called them. According to Tavenner, refugees from the Soviet Union ran the farm while Shaw remained in New York City.
Dulles International Airport and the extension of water and sewer lines to the airport began to change the landscape when construction started in 1959. Land prices rose from an average $125 per acre ($310/ha) to $500 per acre ($1,200/ha). During the same year, Marvin T. Broyhill, Jr., and his father made plans to develop land in the airport area under the company M.T. Broyhill & Sons Corporation. In late 1961, they decided to buy and incorporated Sterling Park Development Corporation with his son Marvin T. Broyhill, president, and a cousin, Thomas J. Broyhill, as vice president. Between April 28, and December 29, 1961 of that year, they purchased 1,762 acres (713 ha) in 14 parcels for $2,115,784. For the 226-acre (91 ha) Hughes farm along Route 7, they paid $1,700 per acre ($4,200/ha).
M.T. Broyhill & Sons Corporation learned where the right-of-way for Route 28 (Sully Road) would be, and hoped to develop Sterling Park on both sides of it, so they would not have to build a road through Sterling Park. However, Powell B. Harrison, who was instrumental in planning Route 28, insisted that road be kept generally free of development, for easy access to the airport. Therefore, the Broyhills developed Sterling Park east of Route 28, and had to build their own through road, today's Sterling Boulevard.
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