Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Dunn NC 28334

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Dunn 28334

dental assistant training in Dunn NCSelecting the right dental hygienist training near Dunn NC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Dunn dental assistant helping dentist 28334Dental assistants are an essential part of any Dunn dental practice and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Dunn dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen comparing the role of a Dunn dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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 assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients about oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are available at North Carolina junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Dunn area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Dunn homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Dunn home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 28334When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Dunn area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the North Carolina colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Dunn area employers frequently 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 available for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school 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 have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Dunn area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Dunn area dental schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Dunn dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the North Carolina schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 28334 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Dunn in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Dental Program near Dunn NC

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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