How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Boiling Springs 28017
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Boiling Springs SC is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the college’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Boiling Springs dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Boiling Springs dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at South Carolina community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Boiling Springs area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Boiling Springs home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Boiling Springs area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the South Carolina schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Boiling Springs area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Boiling Springs 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 a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Boiling Springs area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Boiling Springs dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the South Carolina colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 28017 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Boiling Springs at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental Program near Boiling Springs SCChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish 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 acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.