How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Cleveland 29635
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Cleveland SC is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as 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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools 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 Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Cleveland dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many South Carolina dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Cleveland dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the South Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When 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 Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at South Carolina junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Cleveland area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes 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 Cleveland home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office 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 style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Cleveland area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the South Carolina programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cleveland area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Cleveland area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and 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 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 Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Cleveland area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Cleveland 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 Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the South Carolina colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29635 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Cleveland at nights 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 procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Right Dental Program near Cleveland SCPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.