Top Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Blenheim SC 29516

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Blenheim 29516

dental assistant training in Blenheim SCSelecting the right dental hygienist school near Blenheim SC is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Blenheim dental assistant helping dentist 29516Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Blenheim dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some South Carolina dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Blenheim dental hygienist treating patient in South CarolinaWhen contrasting the job of a Blenheim dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

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

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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 available at South Carolina junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Blenheim area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Blenheim homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Blenheim home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area 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 discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask South Carolina dental colleges 29516Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Blenheim area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the South Carolina colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Blenheim area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you decide on 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Blenheim area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Blenheim area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical 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 want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Blenheim 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 as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Check with the South Carolina colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29516 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Blenheim in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Select the Ideal Dental School near Blenheim SC

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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