Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Ehrhardt SC 29081

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Ehrhardt 29081

dental assistant training in Ehrhardt SCChoosing the ideal dental assistant training near Ehrhardt SC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Ehrhardt dental assistant helping dentist 29081Dental assistants are an essential component of any Ehrhardt dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many South Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:

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

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Ehrhardt dental hygienist treating patient in South CarolinaWhen contrasting the role of a Ehrhardt dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the South Carolina practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. 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 Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at South Carolina community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Ehrhardt area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Ehrhardt homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Ehrhardt home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best option for you.

Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask South Carolina dental colleges 29081Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Ehrhardt 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 schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the South Carolina colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Ehrhardt area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select 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. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Ehrhardt area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Ehrhardt area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose 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, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Ehrhardt dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the South Carolina schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29081 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Ehrhardt in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Select the Right Dental School near Ehrhardt SC

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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