How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Barnardsville 28709
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Barnardsville NC is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools 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 provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Barnardsville dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 differ by state, so consult with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Barnardsville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 offered at North Carolina community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast 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 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 clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Barnardsville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Barnardsville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Barnardsville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the North Carolina programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, 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 School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Barnardsville area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select 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. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Barnardsville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Barnardsville area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient 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 program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Barnardsville 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the North Carolina schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28709 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Barnardsville at nights 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental College near Barnardsville NCChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish 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 training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.