How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Cashiers 28717
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Cashiers NC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Cashiers dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have 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).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Cashiers dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at North Carolina community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Cashiers area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Cashiers home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Cashiers area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cashiers area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Cashiers area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as 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 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 Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Cashiers area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Cashiers dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the North Carolina colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 28717 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Cashiers at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Cashiers NCChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.